Dubai: Delegates attending Interpol’s General Assembly have elected Kim Jong Yang of the Republic of Korea as the organisation’s new president on Wednesday in Dubai.
Interpol member states, meeting in Dubai for their annual congress, elected Kim to succeed China’s Meng Hongwei who disappeared in September and later resigned after Chinese authorities said he was being investigated for suspected bribery.
Members of 194 countries voted Kim as president for the next two years, beating Russian national Alexander Prokopchuk, whose candidacy had raised concerns in the Europe and US about the risk of Kremlin’s interference.
There had been growing Western calls for Interpol to reject Prokopchuk over fears that Moscow could abuse the role to target political opponents.
Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock, said that Kim — who had been serving as acting president — had been elected for a two-year term through a democratic voting process.
Kim brings a wealth of national and international policing experience to the post. He has been serving as the organisation’s vice president for Asia since 2015 and was head of Interpol’s National Central Bureau in Seoul from 2011 to 2012.
“The presidency is typically held for four years but Mr Kim, was elected to complete the term of former president Meng, which was due to end in 2020. Mr Kim was elected as president through a voting process which was democratic, transparent, free and clear, and is the same for every candidate,” Stock said in a press conference held in Dubai.
Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-chief of the Dubai Police, was also present.
“Mr Kim has many years’ experience of our governance and I look forward to working with him to give our membership the best possible support in this dynamic and changing global security environment. Mr Kim will complete the mandate of the former president and he can’t be re-elected by the end of his term,” Stock added.
Meng has not been seen since he disappeared during a trip to China, from where he sent a letter to Interpol announcing his resignation. Days after his wife reported him missing, Chinese authorities said he was under investigation.
“Our world is now facing unprecedented changes that present huge challenges to public security and safety. To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future,” said Kim, pledging to ensure that the member countries most in need would receive the full support of Interpol’s range of policing capabilities.
The General Assembly democratically elects the president and other executive committee members on a ‘one-country, one-vote’ basis, with each vote carrying equal weight.
Meanwhile, the assembly also elected six new members of the executive committee, the 13-member body that provides guidance and direction to the organisation. Major General Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, from the UAE interior Ministry, was elected delegate for Asia for a three-year term by the Interpol executive committee.
UAE aided Interpol projects in 170 countries
Meeting in Dubai, UAE from November 18-21, the 87th session of the Interpol General Assembly comprised some 1,000 senior law enforcement officials from 180 countries. They discussed a range of policing issues such as the threats and opportunities posed by technology for police, as well as taking institutional decisions.
By the end of the assembly, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-chief of the Dubai Police, handed the Interpol flag over to Héctor Espinosa Valenzuela, Director General of the Chilean National Police, in preparation for next year’s Interpol General Assembly, which will be held in Santiago.
“We have been delighted and honoured to host this remarkable event in the UAE and our deepest hope is that you return home safely,” Maj Gen Al Merri said.
Secretary General Jürgen Stock praised UAE’s support in helping Interpol projects in 170 countries around the world, saying that Interpol efforts helped to arrest 10,000 serious criminals this year, including 200 terrorists.
“My staff work tirelessly to support international police cooperation against terrorists, human traffickers and child abusers across 194 countries, irrespective of politics, religion or race,” he said.
The general assembly also voted to accept two new member countries — Kiribati and Vanuatu — bringing the total number of member countries to 194.