China confirmed Sunday the detention and investigation of Meng Hongwei, the president of Interpol, for potential violations of the law.
Meng's status had been unclear since Thursday, when his wife reported him missing after she did not hear from him upon arriving back to China from France.
Along with leading Interpol, the global law enforcement agency, Meng is the vice minister of public security in China.
China's National Supervisory Commission said in statement that Meng is being investigated for suspected violations of state law, but the Chinese authorities did not provide additional detail about its justification for the detention, the South China Morning Post reports.
Later Sunday, Interpol said Meng resigned as president of the agency.
“France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect,” Interpol said in a statement.
Chinese commentators have speculated that China’s security services may have taken custody of Meng as part a broad anti-corruption crackdown overseen by President Xi Jinping.
It is not uncommon for Chinese officials under investigation go missing for weeks or months before the government says anything about their fate, the New York Times reports.
Meng’s appointment to head Interpol was celebrated by many in China, seen as a boon to the country’s international prestige. But some critics argued his presence would enable China to use Interpol’s international database to target political opponents and critics.
French authorities have previously said they are investigating what happened to Meng, referring to his status as a “worrying disappearance.” His wife is receiving protection from French police because of threats made against her. She has said she fears Meng's life is in danger.