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Russia doesn't get its man as Interpol goes for South Korean as new president

Kim Jong-yang defeated Alexander Prokopchuk in Interpol’s election.

Interpol president Kim Jong Yang
Interpol president Kim Jong Yang
Image: PA Images

 SOUTH KOREA’S KIM Jong-yang had been chosen as Interpol’s new president, beating a Russian official whose candidacy had unnerved Western nations.

The US-backed Kim, Interpol’s acting president, was picked at a meeting of delegates from member nations in Dubai to replace Meng Hongwei, who went missing in his native China in September. 

Kim’s election will be seen as a rejection of Alexander Prokopchuk, a Russian interior ministry official whose candidacy had been opposed by the US, UK and other western nations. 

The had claimed Moscow could abuse the role to target political opponents and yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threw his weight behind Kim.

“We encourage all nations and organisations that are part of Interpol and that respect the rule of law to choose a leader with integrity. We believe Mr. Kim will be just that,” Pompeo told reporters.

Now that Kim’s election has been confirmed, he will serve out Meng’s term until 2020.

Meng Hongwei vanished in his native China in September. Beijing later said he resigned his post at Interpol after being charged with accepting bribes.

Interpol’s president chairs its General Assembly while day-to-day operations are handled by the organisation’s Secretary general Juergen Stock.

 ’Political persecution’

In an open letter this week, a bipartisan group of US senators had argued choosing Prokopchuk would be like “putting a fox in charge of a henhouse”.

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“Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists,” they wrote.

Harriett Baldwin, a minister of state at the British foreign office, told parliament on  that they would be supporting Kim’s bid.

© – AFP 2018

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