France is puzzled by the disappearance of Interpol president Meng Hongwei, reported missing after travelling from the country to his native China, and is concerned about threats received by his wife, the Interior Ministry said on Friday. Meng's family hasn't received any news from him since his September 29 departure for China, according to Europe 1. Le Monde claimed that the "loss" of the President of Interpol is not connected to any criminal episode. Meng's term is scheduled to run until 2020.
He previously served as the Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.
"This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China", the agency said in a statement.
Presidents of Interpol are seconded from their national administrations and remain in their home post while representing the worldwide policing body.
When Meng was elected in 2016 as Interpol president, rights groups expressed concern that he would pursue an agenda of politicized policing that targeted Xi's opponents. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for an ongoing investigation, said Meng Hongwei's wife reported him missing on Friday.
"The Secretary General is the Organisation's full time official responsible for the day to day running of Interpol".
Interpol has 192 member nations, in an organization that allows police agencies to collaborate and share resources.
Meng's appointment as president in 2016 - amid Chinese leader Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption drive - alarmed some human rights organizations, fearful it would embolden China to strike out at dissidents and refugees overseas.
His duties in China would have put him in close proximity to former leaders, some who had fallen afoul of Xi's campaign.
News of the investigation into Meng's disappearance came during a weeklong public holiday in China.
Critics suggested that Meng's election gave Beijing a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.
Meng's wife alerted the French authorities, leading to the opening of the probe, Europe 1 radio reported earlier, without specifying how it had obtained the information.