Thu, Nov 22, 2018 - Page 7 News List

South Korean to head Interpol, in snub to Kremlin


Kim Jong-yang, acting president of Interpol, is pictured yesterday at the police organization’s annual conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Photo: EPA-EFE / Korea National Police Agency

Interpol delegates yesterday selected South Korean Kim Jong-yang as the new president of the global policing body in a hasty election called after the arrest in China of former president Meng Hongwei (孟宏偉) last month.

The election of Kim at a conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, yesterday morning came in the wake of international concern that the crime agency could select Aleksander Prokopchuk, a high ranking Russian police official.

Interpol did not immediately disclose on its Web site the margin of victory for the South Korean, which was organized on a one country-one vote basis.

The snap election was called after Meng was taken into custody on a visit to China early last month for questioning by authorities, according to local media reports.

He had been China’s deputy minister of public security and after being elected as the head of the global policing agency in November 2016, was expected to remain president until his term expired in 2020.

While Meng is head of the executive committee that oversees Interpol, the agency is run by secretary-general Juergen Stock.

The possibility that Prokopchuk would become the new top policeman had already triggered criticism on the eve of the election from business figures that have clashed with Russian President Vladimir’s Putin government.

Yukos Oil Co founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison on what he claims were politically motivated charges, said Prokopchuk, as head of Interpol in Russia, breached the agency’s rules by appealing to several nations to issue arrest warrants for him.

British-American financier Bill Browder. who has campaigned for Western countries to implement sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights abuses, on Tuesday also cited Russia’s repeated efforts to have Interpol “red notice” arrest warrants issued for him.

The central Interpol body rescinded the warrants, believing them to be politically motivated.

“There is probably no more inappropriate person than this person and there’s no more inappropriate country to have any kind of leadership position at Interpol than Russia,” Browder told a news conference in London.

Officials from Ukraine, who have been at odds with their neighbor since Russian forces annexed the Crimean Peninsula, hailed the election result.

“The representative of South Korea has been elected as a President of Interpol!!!!! The Russian nominee has been rejected,” Ukrainian Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov wrote on Twitter. “This battle has been won. Thanks all!! Glory to Ukraine!”

Additional reporting by the Guardian

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