UPDATE 10/8/18: The wife of Interpol president Meng Hongwei told reporters on Sunday that he sent her a knife emoji before he disappeared as a way to indicate that he was in danger. Shortly after Hongwei's wife spoke with reporters, China confirmed that Hongwei was under investigation on "suspicion of unspecified legal violations," according to the Associated Press. Moreover, Interpol announced that Hongwei had resigned as its president, a post he had been elected to hold until 2020. Interpol did not say why Hongwei resigned or provide any information about his condition.
Meng Hongwei, a senior member of the Chinese Communist party and the president of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has been missing in China for over a week, according to the agency.
Hongwei left the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France to travel to China on September 29 and hasn’t been heard from since. The issue came to the agency’s attention after Hongwei’s wife contacted French police.
In a statement to Reuters, Interpol said it was aware of Hongwei’s “alleged disappearance” and that this “is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.”
Hongwei was elected Interpol president in 2016. According to the agency’s website, he has “almost 40 years experience in criminal justice and policing, having overseen affairs related to legal institutions, narcotics control, counter-terrorism, border control, immigration and international cooperation.” Hongwei has made a point of focusing on cybercrime since taking office.
The reason for Hongwei’s disappearance is uncertain. The South China Morning Post quoted an anonymous source who said that Hongwei, who serves as the vice-minister of China’s Ministry of Public Security was “taken away as soon as he landed in China” for “questioning by discipline authorities.”
Motherboard has reached out to Interpol for comment and will update this post as we learn more.