Interpol president reported missing after trip to China

About the disappearance of Men Hunia said his wife.

In July past year, Meng gave a speech on the importance of cracking down on cybercrime which observers said might reflect China's views on the issue. He earlier served as the vice-minister of public security in China as well as the vice-chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China, according to the Interpol website.

He left his home in Lyon, France, for a visit to his homeland, and then vanished - putting the International Criminal Police Organization, best known as Interpol, at the center of its own missing persons case.

Meng's official biography says he was born in 1953 in the northeastern city of Harbin and graduated with a degree in law from prestigious Peking University.

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

After being elected as the head of the global policing agency in November 2016, Meng took a particular interest in cyber-crime. But because Interpol's secretary-general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the police agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect.

But human rights groups warned of possible abuses.

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Meng's duties in China would have put him in close proximity to former leaders, some of whom had fallen afoul of President Xi Jinping's sweeping crackdown on corruption.

Business Insider has contacted the French Ministry of Justice and the Chinese Embassy in London for comment.

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

Xi has placed a premium on getting officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption to return from overseas, making Meng's position even more sensitive.

Presidents of Interpol are seconded from their national administrations and remain in their home post while representing the global policing body.

That could have been a sign of his declining political fortunes, or simply a prelude to his impending retirement, given that, at 64, he was approaching the age when officials generally begin stepping down from their positions.

  • Sonia Alvarado