Interpol asks China for info on agency’s missing president

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The country's interior ministry said they were under police supervision in Lyon - where Interpol's headquarters are located - after Meng's wife was threatened over the phone and on social media.

China has not yet commented and is in the midst of a weeklong holiday.

A person familiar with the investigation into the disappearance said the initial working assumption of Western investigators was that Meng had antagonised Chinese authorities in some way and had been detained as a result.

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

While Meng is head of the executive committee that oversees Interpol, the agency is run by the secretary general.

Meng was appointed as the chief of Interpol in 2016 which also sparked controversy as it was alleged that China is extending its crackdown on people overseas.

In the past, Beijing saw Mr Meng's election to Interpol as a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracing alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials.

Interpol is the world's largest agency facilitating police cooperation with 192 member countries. The language of Interpol's Saturday statement seeking "clarification" from Chinese authorities gives further impetus to these reports.

Interpol said it used law-enforcement channels to submit its request for information about Meng's status.

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Neither China's public security ministry nor its foreign ministry have replied to queries about the president.

France launched its own investigation on Friday morning, according to the judicial official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked for anonymity.

The Hong Kong newspaper said Mr Meng was "taken away" for questioning upon landing in China last week by what it said were "discipline authorities".

Meng was last seen in France on September 29, according to reports from France.

However, the party's investigation agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, did not make any announcements about Mr Meng, the first person from China to hold the influential Interpol post.

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.

"This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China". "Yellow notices" are issued for missing persons.

By 2004, he was a vice minister of public security and that same year became head of Interpol's China branch.

In the past Beijing has pressed countries to arrest and deport to China citizens it accuses of crimes, from corruption to terrorism.