Investigation is launched after Chinese head of Interpol goes missing

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The president of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has been reported missing after a trip to China, officials say.

Chinese politician Meng Hongwei was first reported missing by his wife after traveling to China. Amnesty International said Meng's rise to the international office was "alarming given China's long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees overseas".

Meng's disappearance is being investigated by French police, according to media citing police sources.

The 64-year-old Meng Hongwei was elected president of Interpol in November 2016.

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Meng is listed on the website of China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister, but lost his seat on its key Communist Party Committee in April, the South China Morning Post reported. Meng was heading to his native China.

The French authorities launched an investigation into the disappearance of the Interpol president, Meng Hongwei.

Interpol's main function is to provide a mechanism for police forces in different countries to notify each other of wanted suspects.

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

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China previous year also requested multiple Interpol red notices seeking the arrest of Guo Wengui, a dissident billionaire who had fled to NY while claiming he possessed explosive secrets about the Communist Party leadership.

"Interpol's General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further", it said.

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

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

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