The French police have launched a hunt for Meng Hongwei, the head of Interpol who went missing from Lyon on 29 September.

The 64-year-old president of the international law enforcement agency, who is a Chinese, was last seen leaving Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon bound for China.

Concern about Meng rose after his wife, who lives in Lyon, told authorities that her husband had not contacted since the day he reached China.

France announced Meng’s disappearance on Friday, 5 October, stating that the top Chinese official did not disappear in France.

Meng is listed as the vice-minister of China’s Ministry of Public Security. In April, however, he lost his post in the all-powerful Communist Party Committee for reasons not known.

South China Morning Post reports that Meng’s last official engagement, according to his own page on the site, was his meeting with second permanent secretary of Singapore Lai Chung Han on 23 August.

Meng was appointed the chief of Interpol in 2016 – a position he will serve till 2020.

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According to SCMP, his appointment triggered a controversy with human rights advocates questioning his China’s pathetic rights record fearing that Beijing might use Meng to crush dissenters.

With 192 member countries, Interpol is the world’s biggest police cooperation agency against counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and organised and emerging crime.

Interpol describes itself as an organisation that enables police around the world to work together to make the world a safer place.

Though Interpol cannot issue arrest warrants, it can issue global alerts – called notices – against wanted persons. The highest – Red Corner Notice (RCN) – is issued for fugitives of the member countries.

Nirav Modi, the fugitive Indian diamataire accused of multi-crore bank fraud, has a RCN against him.