Head of Interpol disappears during visit to China

One of China's best-known actresses Fan Bingbing is missing

EMMA MCINTYRE GETTYOne of China's best-known actresses Fan Bingbing is missing

Previously, Interpol had said that reports about Mr Meng's disappearance were "a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

"Interpol's secretariat looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the President's well-being".

Meng, who is also a vice-minister at China's Ministry of Public Security, is under investigation in China, the Post reported amid mystery surrounding his disappearance after his wife reported to the French police that he had gone missing.

Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the worldwide law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying.

Al Jazeera's Brown added that Meng was vice minister of the Public Security Bureau prior to his Interpol appointment and that made him a very powerful man.

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It is the latest high-profile disappearance in China, where a number of top government officials, billionaire business magnates and even celebrity Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) have vanished for weeks or months at a time. Meng's wife was purportedly not informed.

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018.

"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the ministry said.

He added that China was likely to "brush off" any political damage that it would cause to Beijing's involvement in worldwide bodies. The language of Interpol's Saturday statement seeking "clarification" from Chinese authorities gives further impetus to these reports.

Meng, 64, was elected president of the Interpol in November 2016, with his term set to end in 2020.

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Chinese president Xi Jinping (習近平) has presided over an anti-graft drive since coming to power in 2012 that has punished more than 1 million officials.

A source told the South China Morning Post that Meng was under investigation in China and was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week.

Such actions would be contrary to Interpol's mission statement: "Action is taken within the limits of existing laws in different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

The police agency, which links forces from its 192 member states, is unlikely to be affected by the disappearance, with the secretary general largely responsible for day-to-day operations. His experience ranges from narcotics control to counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website.

Kinzelbach also urged Interpol to issue a yellow notice - a global alert used to help locate missing persons - on Meng's behalf.

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