Beijing:  A day after Interpol president Meng Hongwei went missing in his native country, he was reported to have been detained in China for questioning as part of an investigation against him. 
Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the international law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was “taken away” for questioning by discipline authorities “as soon as he landed in China” last week.
At present, it is not clear why he is being investigated or exactly where he is being held.
Meng is also a vice-minister at China’s ministry of public security. The newspaper reported that mystery shrouded the disappearance of the officer after his wife lodged a complaint with the French police that he had gone missing.
The French police said on Friday that they had launched a probe for Meng.
Interpol, which is based in Lyon, said on Friday that it was aware of reports of Meng’s “alleged disappearance” and that the issue was a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China.
Meng was last seen in France on September 29, according to reports from France. So far neither the public security ministry nor the foreign ministry in China has commented on the issue.
Under China’s supervision law, a suspect’s family and employer must be notified within 24 hours of his detention, except in cases where doing so would hinder an investigation. It appears Meng’s wife was not informed.
Some related reports quoted an unnamed French judicial official as saying that Meng had arrived in China at the end of September but there had been no news of him since.
While Meng is listed on the website of China’s ministry of public security as a vice-minister, he lost his seat on its communist party committee — its real decision-making body — in April, the Post reported.
According to his own page on the site, Meng’s last official engagement was on August 23, when he met Lai Chung Han, a second permanent secretary of Singapore, it said.
Meng was appointed the head of Interpol in 2016. His appointment had sparked concern about China extending its crackdown on dissidents abroad. He is due to serve until 2020.

France government clueless

The French government said that its interior ministry was in touch with its Chinese counterparts and following up the case. "France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife," a source said.

Interpol reaction

In a statement, the organisation said it was aware of reports of the "alleged disappearance" of Mr Meng. "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China," it said. Interpol added that the secretary general - not the president - was in charge of the day-to-day running of the 192-member organisation. Interpol is the world’s largest agency facilitating police cooperation with 192 member countries.

Other disappearances

According CNN, this is not the first high-profile disappearance involving a Chinese national. Actress Fan Bingbing mysteriously disappeared from public view in June and has not been seen since.
On Wednesday, Xinhua reported that she had been fined tens of millions of dollars for tax evasion after she misreported how much money she had received for certain film projects.
Fan's disappearance sparked widespread speculation she had been detained by the authorities. Xinhua said she had been under investigation by tax authorities in Jiangsu province, near Shanghai but didn't provide any details on her current whereabouts.
In a letter posted on social media, Fan, 37, apologized profusely and repeatedly to the public and government.

(With agency reports)