Interpol chief Meng Hongwei reportedly vanishes on visit to China

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Meng Hongwei's wife reported him missing on Friday, the official said.

Interpol, which coordinates worldwide policing efforts, says it is aware of media reports in connection with Hongwei's disappearance.

Mr Meng was last seen leaving for China from Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, in late September.

Critics suggested that Meng's election gave Beijing a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

An unnamed French judicial official said Meng arrived in China at the end of September but added that there had been no news of him since.

Rights groups previously said that Beijing could use Meng's position to arrest and deport its critics overseas.

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Interpol staff can carry special passports to help speed deployment in emergency situations but that would not have given Meng any specific rights or immunity in his home country.

An Interpol spokesman says the global law enforcement agency is aware of the Post's story, but would not comment on it or say if Chinese authorities had detained the 64-year-old Meng.

Before taking over at Interpol, Meng Hongwei was deputy minister in charge of public security in China.

A report from Le Parisien translated by NPR said Meng's wife became anxious when he fell out of touch after arriving in China.

In conclusion, Hatton asks, "If [Meng] has really gone missing within the Chinese state apparatus, who did he anger, or what could he have done for Beijing to willingly, and publicly, forfeit the top job at Interpol?".

Xi has been seeking the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, sometimes with the help of Interpol in an arrangement human rights advocates say is prone to abuse.