Probe opened in France after Interpol chief reported missing

MOSCOW RUSSIA ? JULY 6 2018 Interpol President Meng Hongwei at an International Cybersecurity Congress at Moscow's World Trade Centre. Mikhail Metzel  TASS

Interpol said on Friday it was aware of reports of the "alleged disappearance" of its president Meng Hongwei and said the issue was a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China.

Meng, 64, has been unaccounted for since he left France for China in late September, Europe 1 radio reported.

His wife said there had been no news of him since he made the trip.

France has launched an investigation into Interpol President Meng Hongwei's whereabouts, after the chief's wife reported his disappearance to authorities on September 29. There has been no information about his whereabouts since Hongwei left France for China. His wife has not heard from him since.

Meng Hongwei, the director of Interpol, is reportedly missing.

He was named chief of Interpol in 2016 and his term is due to run until 2020.

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His appointment was met with concern by academics and human rights advocates, who feared he would abuse Interpol's powers to forcibly repatriate Chinese dissidents and fugitives.

There was no further word on Mr Meng's schedule in China or what prompted his wife to wait until now to report his absence.

The president of Interpol heads its executive committee. It also pointed out that the day-to-day running of the 192-member global organisation for police co-operation was handled by its secretary general, not the president.

When Meng was named Interpol's president in November 2016, human rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

The South China Morning Post reported Friday that Meng Hongwei was placed under investigation in his native China as soon as he arrived in the country last week.

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