Interpol: Chinese state media lauds new chief

Image copyright AFP Image caption Police are searching for 141 individuals wanted by Interpol and 230 organisations

Chinese state media are hailing Interpol’s appointment of Guido Fernando as its new secretary general.

Mr Fernando, a 55-year-old former Hong Kong deputy chief executive, is very popular in China, which chairs Interpol’s Assembly.

China’s official broadcaster, CCTV, lauded Interpol’s statement on Mr Fernando as a “contribution to world peace”.

However, CNN reports that the US and UK will still pull out of Interpol over its worldwide list of people wanted for terrorism, fraud and other crimes.

This is because Interpol is also embroiled in a conflict over the world’s fight against terrorism.

In February, the US and UK, along with Australia, Canada and France, pledged not to use Interpol’s global database of wanted people linked to terrorist organisations following the so-called Operation Fox Hunt .

Interpol said it was reviewing the matter, and Mr Fernando’s appointment has been welcomed.

News portal NetEase highlighted how Mr Fernando “has earned a special place in the hearts of the Chinese people”.

On the official Weibo social media network, some Chinese people also predicted he will bring about China’s domination of Interpol.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Fernando is wanted by Thailand for allegedly lying to obtain work permits

When Interpol president Meng Hongwei disappeared in China in September, he was named as his prime suspect. But Mr Meng resigned his role to stay in China’s police agency, following weeks of speculation about his involvement in the scandal.

Mr Fernando has been under police investigation in Hong Kong over allegations of graft. He had been blocked from leaving the city.

Speaking to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper after his appointment was announced, Mr Fernando said he would try to promote transparency and cooperation and “strictly adhere to the law”.

Mr Fernando will likely face controversy in relation to his personal life.

Police are searching for 141 individuals wanted by Interpol and 230 organisations.

They believe he lied to obtain work permits in Hong Kong and other countries.

The son of former Hong Kong Democratic Party leader Frank Fernando, Mr Fernando has also been questioned by Interpol’s General Assembly about his involvement in the online crime market “Silk Road”, which was shut down by the US justice department in 2014.

His appointment has been greeted with enthusiasm by the National Association of Preventive Nurses of Hong Kong, an umbrella group representing of about 2,000 health care professionals.

Image copyright AFP Image caption “Operation Fox Hunt” started in January 2018

“He is a pragmatic person, not a career politician,” Liang Xiaojun, the group’s president, told AFP.

“He has a good mind, even if he makes some mistakes.

“He was close to then-Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Also, he has been one of the outstanding secretaries general since 2001, so he is someone who is well known to work well with governments.”

Under the UK-led Operation Fox Hunt, Interpol put the names of 1,102 people on its “wanted for terrorism” database, accusing them of crimes such as arms trafficking, murder and rape.

About 200 of them were foreign fighters who fought in Syria and Iraq, in a campaign that left as many as 4,000 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch.

Interpol has long struggled to control criminals and dissidents using its database.

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