Interpol president Meng Hongwei reported missing after trip to China

Interpol president Meng Hongwei (Wong Maye-E/AP) Credit: Maye-E/AP

The president of Interpol has been reported missing after travelling to his native China, a French judicial official said.

Meng Hongwei’s wife reported on Friday that she had not heard from her husband since he left Lyon in France, where the organisation is based, the official added.

The Interpol chief, 64, had allegedly left France and arrived in China last Saturday.

There has been no news on his whereabouts since.

Prince Charles met Meng Hongwei and other officials during a visit to the Interpol general secretariat headquarters in Lyon. Credit: ITV News

In a statement, Interpol said it was aware of reports of Mr Meng's disappearance and added: "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China."

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

There has been no further word on the Interpol chief's schedule in China, nor what prompted his wife to wait until now before reporting him as missing.

Mr Meng was elected president of Interpol in November 2016 and his term is due to run until 2020.

A deputy minister of public security, he previously served as vice chairman of the national narcotics control commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.

He has also served as head and deputy head of branches of the coast guard, all while holding positions at Interpol.

Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, assists police in its 192 member countries to work together on matters of international crime.

Their main areas of policing expertise are counter-terrorism, cyber crime and organised and emerging crime.

Mr Meng has been Interpol's president since 2016. Credit: PA

Mr Meng's duties in China would have put him in close proximity to many former leaders, some of whom had come into difficulty with President Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption.

President Xi has also placed a premium on obtaining the return of officials accused of fraud and corruption from abroad.

Rights groups voiced concerns around the time of Mr Meng's election as Interpol president in 2016 that the chief would pursue a politicised agenda that might target Xi's opponents.

As news of the investigation into Mr Meng's disappearance broke, China was coming to the end of a week long public holiday.

In Beijing, the foreign and public security ministries did not immediately respond requests for comment on Friday.