Meng’s wife went to police in Lyon, where Interpol is based, Thursday night to report his disappearance, according to a statement released by the French Interior Ministry on Friday. The spouse told police that she had last heard from him 10 days ago and had recently received threats via social networks and by telephone, according to the statement.
“France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received,” the statement said.
It adds that a “suitable police mechanism” was put in place to guarantee her safety, and that the prosecutor’s office in Lyon has opened an investigation.
“Questioned by the Interpol Liaison Office in Beijing, the Chinese authorities have not yet clarified the situation. Exchanges with the Chinese authorities are ongoing,” the statement adds.
“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,” Interpol said in a statement. “Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further.”
CNN has also sought to contact Chinese authorities, but it is a public holiday.
“Meng Hongwei, 64, who is also a vice-minister at China’s Ministry of Public Security, was ‘taken away’ for questioning by discipline authorities ‘as soon as he landed in China’ last week,” the Post reported, citing an unnamed source.
Although the newspaper report says it’s “unclear” what he’s being investigated for, Meng’s vanishing act bears hallmarks of what happens to senior officials when they are suspected of violating party rules, usually alleged corruption.
Meng was the first Chinese official to become Interpol president, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said at the time. He oversees the agency’s executive committee, which sets overall strategy. The secretary-general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization.
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.