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08 October 2018, 01:21 | Tara Lloyd
Meng Hongwei: Head of Interpol reported missing by his wife
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.
Hongwei's family have not heard from him since September 25, the ministry added, earlier than the September 29 date police sources had previously reported.
China's Ministry of Public Security did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for an ongoing investigation, said Meng Hongwei's wife reported him missing on Friday.
But the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, hinted that Meng may have been the latest target of an ongoing campaign against corruption in China.
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Interpol said it was aware of reports in connection with Meng's "alleged disappearance".
"This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China", it said in a statement, but stressed day-to-day operations were run by the secretary general Jürgen Stock of Germany, not the president.
Roderic Broadhurst, a professor of criminology at Australian National University, said Meng's disappearance would be "pretty disconcerting" for people in worldwide bodies that work with China, and could ultimately damage China's efforts to develop cooperative legal assistance measures with other countries.
Since Meng continued to hold positions in the security establishment concurrently with his role as Interpol president, that may have placed him under additional pressure.
Police sources said their investigation was into what is termed in France a "worrying disappearance", Reuters reports. "France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife".
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