French police investigate Interpol chief, missing on home visit to China
French police are investigating the disappearance of the president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, who was reported missing after travelling from France to his native China.
INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018. Picture taken May 8, 2018. Jeff Pachoud/Pool via Reuters
Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the international police agency is based, after not hearing from him since his departure on Sept. 29, police sources said.
French police sources told Reuters police were investigating what is officially termed in France a "worrying disappearance".
Interpol, which groups 192 countries and which is usually focused on finding people who are missing or wanted, said it was aware of reports about Meng's "alleged disappearance".
"This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China," the agency said in a statement.
Presidents of Interpol are seconded from their national administrations and remain in their home post while representing the international policing body.
Meng is listed on the website of China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister, but lost his seat on its key Communist Party Committee in April, the South China Morning Post reported.
Meng has almost 40 years' experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website.
Interpol staff can carry special passports to help speed deployment in emergency situations but that would not have given Meng any specific rights or immunity in his home country.
When Meng was named Interpol's president in Nov. 2016.
Police sources said Meng's wife and children remained in Lyon./.