South Korea's Kim Jong Yang to head Interpol, Russian candidate loses bid

Newly elected president of Interpol, South Korea's Kim Jong-Yang at the annual congress. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Dubai - United Arab Emirates Nov 21, 2018, 01.11 PM (IST)

The international police body, Interpol, today elected South Korea's Kim Jong Yang as its new chief.

Yang has been elected for a two-year term. He was the acting president of the international police agency.

US Senators had earlier opposed the Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk, a government official, to head the police organization. The lawmakers feared Russia would abuse the position to harass political rivals.  

Prokopchuk was the vice president and a front-runner in the run-up to the election.

Russia called it "certain kind of interference in the electoral process of an international organisation". Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the US senators' letter as a "vivid example" of an attempt to interfere in the vote.

"Russia has consistently misused Interpol to pursue its political opponents," Guy Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium and a leading member of the European Parliament had said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had put his weight behind Kim asserting that Interpol should pick a leader who respected the rule of law, "we believe Mr. Kim will be just that", he said.

In September, Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, 64, was detained in China over corruption charges. Meng, a deputy minister of public security in China had become president of Interpol in late 2016. Meng had sent his resignation in an email to the Lyon-based agency opening up the race for the presidency.

The day-to-day work of the international police body is overseen by secretary-general Jurgen Stock of Germany with the president charing the body's General Assembly and is largely seen as the face of the organization.

The row over the election created deep divisions within the organization with Ukraine threatening to pull out of Interpol if Prokopchuk was elected. Lithuania too said it would consider withdrawing from the network.