Interpol chief goes missing

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The official said Meng had left France and had arrived in China at the end of September.

The Lyon-based worldwide 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.

On Friday, the French police started an investigation after the Meng's wife reported that he was missing, unidentified police officials told Reuters.

The South China Morning Post quotes a source as saying Mr Meng, 64, was "taken away" for questioning in China.

Though few details have emerged, the mysterious circumstances of Meng's disappearance have already prompted criticisms of Chinese authorities' lack of transparency.

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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 on its website about Meng and couldn't be reached for comment. Because Interpol's secretary general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect. "This was not the case in the past", Meng said.

But it does not have the power to send officers into countries to arrest individuals or issue arrest warrants. The official in question suddenly drops out of the public eye and an alarm is raised that the person is "missing", usually by members of the public.

But Interpol walks a fine line between its noble mission - facilitating global police cooperation - and the politics and policies of some of its member countries.

He was elected Interpol president in November 2016, the first Chinese to take up the post, and is scheduled to serve until 2020.

What is the full Interpol statement?

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According to reports in Chinese media, "Meng's position at China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister had become untenable, as he lost his seat on its Communist Party Committee in April".

Meng's various jobs put him in close contact with Chinese leaders in the security establishment, a sector long synonymous with corruption, opacity and human rights abuses. He likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, now serving a life sentence for corruption. "It is quite possible that Meng found himself on the wrong side of the political divide in China, at a time when President Xi Jinping is intensifying his crackdown on corruption".

Her whereabouts remain unknown. Still out of the public eye, she issued a statement apologizing for her actions. "That is ironic, because Meng Hongwei seems to be a victim of their disciplinary procedures", she said.

In a statement, the organisation said it was aware of reports of the "alleged disappearance" of Mr Meng.

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