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Russian Police Official Elected Interpol's Vice President For Europe

Russian Major General Aleksandr Prokopchuk was elected new Interpol vice president

A Russian police official has been elected as a vice president for Interpol for the first time.

The Russian Interior Ministry said on November 10 that Major General Aleksandr Prokopchuk, the head of Interpol's National Central Bureau in Moscow, was elected as the global police organization's vice president for Europe.

Prokopchuk was chosen on November 10 at Interpol's annual general assembly on the Indonesian island of Bali.

It is the first time a Russian citizen has been elected to one of Interpol's top posts since Russia joined the organization in the early 1990s.

At the same meeting, Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei was chosen as Interpol's new chief.

Meng's appointment has sparking criticism from activists, who say Beijing has used the agency to track down dissidents abroad.

"It's worrying in the sense that for a long time, China has been using...Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad," William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, told AFP.

Nee said China had abused Interpol's system in the past to target dissidents, especially from the Muslim Uyghur minority.

Meng takes over from France's Mireille Ballestrazzi.

China joined Interpol in 1984.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, AFP and AP