China mum on Interpol chief Meng Hongwei’s disappearance

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Paris: Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has been reportedly detained in China for questioning as part of an investigation against him, a media report said on Saturday, a day after he was reported missing in his native country.

Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the international law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was “taken away” for questioning by discipline authorities “as soon as he landed in China” last week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying.

It was not immediately clear why he is being investigated or exactly where he is being held.

The International Criminal Political Investigation (Interpol) has officially asked China for information regarding the disappearance of the agency’s President Meng Hongwei on a trip to China.

However, the Chinese government has not said anything publicly yet about Meng’s disappearance.

His disappearance was made public on Friday, when French authorities said they were opening an investigation to find out what happened to Meng, a Chinese national who served a lengthy term as the vice minister for public security.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post newspaper, Meng was taken in for questioning by Chinese authorities. The paper, which based its reporting on an unnamed source, said the reason for Meng’s questioning was unknown.

Meng’s wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the international police agency is based, after not hearing from him since Sept. 25, and after receiving threats by phone and on social media, the ministry said.

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.

“France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol’s president and concerned about the threats made to his wife,” the ministry said.

Meng’s wife, who has remained in Lyon with their children according to police sources, was receiving protection, it said. “Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue,” the ministry added.

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