China confirms Interpol chief detained

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China has confirmed it is holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei.

Beijing said he was under investigation by the country’s anti-corruption body for unspecified breaches of the law.

Mr Meng, who is also listed as a vice-minister of public security in China, was reported missing after traveling from the city of Lyon in France, where Interpol is based, to China.

His family had not heard from him since he left Interpol headquarters on 25 September.

China’s National Supervision Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, said Mr Meng was under investigation in a statement on its website.

Mr Meng is the latest high-profile disappearance in China, where a number of top government officials, billionaires and even an A-list celebrity have vanished in recent months.

Earlier this week, actress Fan Bingbing, who disappeared in China in July, emerged with a public apology and a fine of 883 million yuan ($129m) for tax evasion and other offenses.

What has Interpol said and what does it do?

On Saturday, the international police agency urged China to clarify Mr Meng’s status, saying it was concerned about the well-being of its president.

It had earlier said Mr Meng’s case was “for the relevant authorities in both France and China”. France has opened an investigation but said on Sunday it had no further information.

It is Interpol’s general secretariat that largely oversees the day-to-day work of the 192-member organisation, with the role of the president largely ceremonial.

Interpol co-ordinates searches among its members, issuing yellow notices for missing persons and a red notice – an international alert – for a wanted person. However, it does not have the power to send officers into countries to arrest individuals or issue arrest warrants.