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Interpol gets a new chief

Interpol gets a new chief

Putin critics the world over are celebrating the fact that his Russian nominee would not be the new Interpol chief. Understandably, they were apprehensive that Interpol would have been manipulated to suit Russian designs. South Korean Kim Jong Yang was finally chosen to take the role. Alexander Prokopchuk, a former Russian Interior Ministry official, had all along been expected to be elected president. A bipartisan group of US senators released a letter saying the election of Prokopchuk would be "akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse." Kim was elected at the 87th session of the organisation's general assembly in Dubai, which gathered around 1,000 senior law enforcement officials from across the globe. Kim will serve as president for the remainder of the current mandate, until 2020. He pledged to ensure that member countries most in need would receive Interpol's full support. "Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety," Kim said."To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future." Kim had previously been serving as Interpol's vice president for Asia since 2015 and was head of the organisation's National Central Bureau in Seoul from 2011 to 2012. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had endorsed Kim to replace Interpol's former president, Meng Hongwei, who was recently detained on his return to China. Meng went missing in late September. His wife Grace Meng raised the alarm 10 days later and said she had received threats via social networks and telephone. Chinese authorities later announced Meng was being held and investigated for alleged corruption. A statement from Interpol's Secretary General Jürgen Stock dated October 6 said the organisation had requested "clarification" from the Chinese authorities on Meng's status. The following day the international law enforcement agency released another statement, confirming it had received Meng's resignation. In his first public comments since Meng disappeared, Stock told a news conference earlier this month that the organisation had to accept its former president's resignation. Earlier, Human Rights Watch criticised the police organisation's "curious unconcern about its disappeared ex-chief." While the president's role is "to chair the general assembly and executive committee sessions," rather run the organisation day-to-day, it remains an influential position, according to a statement released by Interpol. The appointment establishes the agency's working committees and "has an influence on policy," Louis Shelley, a transnational crime expert and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, said ahead of Kim's election. "It's not as if it's just some figurehead," Shelley said at the time, arguing that, had the Russian been elected it would have "totally (politicised) the organisation" turning it into "a political tool of an authoritarian government."

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