Interpol elects Chinese official as new president, Russian as deputy

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The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, has appointed a senior Chinese security official as its new president and a Russian official as its vice president, the intergovernmental body says.

The Interpol elected Chinese Vice Public Security Minister Meng Hongwei as its new president and Russian Alexander Prokopchuk, who is the head of the Interpol’s National Central Bureau in Moscow, as its vice president during the organization’s 85th General Assembly, which is being held from November 7-10 in Bali, Indonesia, the Lyon-based body said on its tweeter account on Thursday.

The appointment could boost Beijing’s domestic anti-graft fight, which is considered as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s widespread crackdown on corruption. The move also enables Xi’s government to better hunt down fugitive officials who have fled China but are wanted for corruption.

Back in 2014, Beijing issued an Interpol “red notice,” the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant, for its 100 most-wanted economic criminals, including corrupt former officials who are living abroad. Beijing says it has managed to net at least one-third of them so far. 

The agenda of this year’s assembly was issues that included how to deal with threats posed by terrorists coming back to their countries of origin after participating in overseas militancy, as well as the increasing rise of the use of social media as a terrorist recruiting mechanism.

Founded in 1923, the Interpol now has 190 member states, making it the second largest international organization after the United Nations in terms of international representation. It has nearly 800 staff and its annual budget, some 80 million euros, is provided mostly by its member states.

The organization acts as a network linking the law enforcement agencies of its members, but it does not possess agents of its own with powers of arrest.

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