Interpol asks Beijing to clarify status of missing president Meng

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Mr Meng's wife says she hasn't heard from him since he left the French city of Lyon at the end of September.

His appointment as Interpol president in 2016 alarmed some human rights organisations, fearful it would embolden China to strike out at dissidents and refugees overseas.

'I completely accept all the penalty decisions made according to law, after the investigation done by tax authorities.

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment 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-corruption campaign.

Interpol has downplayed the concerns, saying the president has little influence over the organization's day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Juergen Stock, a German.

To make matters murkier, Meng is not just the head of Interpol, he is also a vice minister for public safety in China.

"Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol President Meng Hongwei".

The worldwide Criminal Political Investigation (Interpol) chief Meng Hongwei allegedly went missing on Friday, October 5, after he went to China. "Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue", the ministry added.

France is investigating the disappearance of Meng, who is also a senior Chinese security official, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, has suggested that Meng may have been the latest target of an ongoing campaign against corruption in China.

The Lyon-based global police agency said in a brief statement Saturday that it used law enforcement channels to submit its request about the status of Meng Hongwei.

China has not commented officially on Meng's disappearance and there was no mention of him in official media on Saturday.

Neither China's public security ministry nor its foreign ministry have replied to queries about the president.

Meng was last seen in France on September 29, according to reports from France. His term in Lyon runs until 2020.

His appointment caused concern among academics and human rights advocates, who feared he would abuse Interpol's powers to forcibly repatriate Chinese dissidents and fugitives.

If he has really gone missing within the Chinese state apparatus, whom did he anger, or what could he have done for Beijing to willingly, and publicly, forfeit the top job at Interpol?

China now has 44 outstanding red notices, mostly related to murder, intentional injury and drug smuggling, according to Interpol's web site.

In the past Beijing has pressed countries to arrest and deport to China citizens it accuses of crimes, from corruption to terrorism.