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Interpol Seeks Info on Its Missing Chief From China


FILE - In this July 4, 2017, photo, Interpol President Meng Hongwei delivers his opening address at the Interpol world congress in Singapore.

Interpol has formally requested information about its missing leader from China, where the Chinese national, Meng Hongwei, seemingly disappeared on a trip home.

The Lyon-based international police agency said Saturday that it used law enforcement channels to submit its request about Meng's status to Beijing, citing concerns about his well-being.

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

Meng's wife lives in Lyon and recently contacted French police after not hearing from her husband since he traveled to China in late September.

Meng, 64, was elected to lead the organization in November 2016 for a four-year term. A former vice minister of public security in China, he is the first Chinese national to hold the post.

According to Meng's bio on Interpol's website, he has almost 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing, during which he's dealt with issues related to legal institutions, narcotics control, counterterrorism, border control, immigration and international cooperation.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, has implied Meng may have been the latest target of China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign. The newspaper said last week that Meng had been "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities."

That term is frequently used to describe investigators in the ruling Communist Party who probe graft and political disloyalty.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's secretive internal investigation agency, had no announcements about Meng and couldn't be reached for comment, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

Roderic Broadhurst, a professor of criminology at Australian National University, said Meng's disappearance would be "pretty disconcerting" for people in international bodies that work with China, and could harm China's efforts to develop cooperative legal assistance measures with other countries.

"It is bizarre," Broadhurst said Saturday, noting China most likely would "brush off" any political damage to Beijing's involvement in international bodies. "It's a price that might have to be paid, but I guess they would see that as a cost worth bearing."

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