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Interpol president Meng Hongwei reported missing after trip to China

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

The head of global policing agency Interpol went missing during a trip to his native China last week.

French police have reportedly launched an investigation into the disappearance of Meng Hongwei after his wife reported him missing, according to Reuters.

Meng was last seen leaving Interpol's headquarters in Lyon in France, late September, the source said, and planned to visit China.

Police sources said Meng's wife and children remained in Lyon.

French police opened a probe Friday into the week-long disappearance of Interpol's president.

Before being elected head of Interpol in November 2016, Meng was vice minister of public security in China.

He is the first Chinese national to hold the post.

The statement specified that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the worldwide police agency's operations.

The news site Caixin later said Yang was being investigated by Chinese authorities over his ties to the head of state-controlled Huarong Asset Management and had been detained in Cambodia.

During a speech at the 86th Interpol General Assembly in Beijing in September 2017, Meng talked about the importance of global cooperation and combating cybercrime.

A spokeswoman for Interpol refused to tell CNN if Mr Meng was on official business in China when he was last heard from.

There have been several cases in recent years of senior Chinese officials vanishing without explanation, only for the government to announce weeks or even months later that they have been put under investigation, often for suspected corruption. His term is due to run until 2020.

The New York Times reported that when Meng was named president of Interpol in 2016, human rights groups voiced concerns that the Chinese government might use his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

Meng was taken into custody immediately upon his arrival in China last week for questioning by authorities, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source it didn't identify.

After his election human rights groups expressed concern that the move could help China pursue political dissidents who have fled the country.