Interpol has issued a statement to Euronews stating that they have officially requested clarification from China on the whereabouts of its President Meng Hongwei, updating a previous announcement that the investigation would be left to French and Chinese authorities.
The statement read: “INTERPOL has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China’s authorities on the status of INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei. INTERPOL’s General Secretariat looks forward to an official response from China’s authorities to address concerns over the President’s well-being.”
On Friday, French police opened an investigation into the whereabouts of Meng after his wife reported he had gone missing since travelling home to his native China last week.
The French interior ministry later said his wife had been placed under protection after threats.
It added that the Interpol chief left Lyon, France, where the international police organisation is based, and arrived in China at the end of September. Meng's wife said there had been no news of him since.
Interpol said it is awaiting clarification from China at this stage to address concerns over the President's well-being. China has not commented officially on Meng's disappearance and there was no mention of him in official media on Saturday.
The initial statement sent to Euronews on Friday stated the matter would be dealt with by Chinese and French authorities.
It said: "Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei. This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China. The Secretary-General is the Organization’s full-time official responsible for the day to day running of Interpol. Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further."
The 64-year-old was elected president of the International Criminal Police Organization in November 2016. His term is due to run until 2020.
A vice minister of public security in China, Meng previously served as vice chairman of the national narcotics control commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.
Meng’s appointment at Interpol raised concerns among human rights campaigners who said China has a track record of marrying politics and policing. East and South East Asia Regional Director for Amnesty International, Nicholas Bequelin, was one such voice.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has waged a crackdown on corruption in recent years that saw high level politicians taken to trial over their misdeeds.
China filed a list of 100 of its most-wanted suspects with Interpol in April 2014, about one third of which have since been repatriated, according to Reuters.