Investigation is launched after Chinese head of Interpol goes missing

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after leaving France for his native China last week.

Police sources said Meng's wife and children remained in Lyon.

French police sources said their investigation was into what is termed in France a "worrying disappearance".

After being elected as the head of the global policing agency in November 2016, Meng took a particular interest in cyber-crime.

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Meng has also served as vice chairman of the national narcotics control commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.

Interpol is the global policing agency, which helps officers in different jurisdictions pursue criminals worldwide.

The organisation's secretary general, not Meng, was responsible for the day-to-day running of Interpol, it said.

The 36-year-old actress, model and producer, re-emerged this week, apologising in a statement to fans and to the Communist Party for tax evasion, after news broke that she had been ordered to pay almost $130 million (113 million euros) in back taxes and fines. French authorities have launched an investigation.

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Its president heads the executive committee, which guides Interpol's priorities and strategy.

Mr Meng is a senior Communist Party official in China.

At the time of his appointment, human rights groups expressed concern about the opacity of China's legal system and warned that Beijing could use its clout in Interpol to arrest political dissidents.

Mr Meng's wife alerted the French authorities, leading to the opening of the probe, Europe 1 said, without specifying how it had obtained the information. According to Reuters, Meng Hongwei's disappearance was reported by his wife, who lives in Leon, where the Interpol headquarters are located.

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