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South Korean Elected as New Interpol President in Surprise Win Over Russian Candidate

Just over a month after head of Interpol Meng Hongwei resigned, the international police organization has elected his successor.

South Korean Kim Jong-yang was named the new president on Wednesday at the annual Interpol congress held in Dubai. Kim had already been serving as acting president and has now been officially elected to complete the term of Meng, which is due to end in 2020.

Meng resigned in early October after he was reported missing following a trip to his native China. Soon after, China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that Meng had been taken into custody after arriving in the country to be investigated for purported illegal conduct.

While the role of Interpol president is largely ceremonial, Kim’s election is significant as the candidacy of his opponent, Russian Alexander Prokopchuk, drew criticism from a number of governments and Russian human rights groups. Prokopchuk, who is already one of Interpol’s four vice presidents, has been accused of using the organization as a means to target critics of the Russian government.

As president, Kim will be responsible for chairing the general assembly and executive committee sessions. Day-to-day activities are run by Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety,” Kim said following his election. “To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future.”