Korean Named New Interpol Chief

      November 22, 2018 10:01

      A Korean has been appointed as the new head of Interpol by the global law-enforcement body's general assembly in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

      Kim Jong-yang (57), the former head of the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency, beat Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk, a Russian interior ministry official and current vice president of Interpol. Kim was elected in a secret ballot but a police spokesman here said he won by a wide margin.

      Kim was born in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province and graduated from Korea University before joining the National Police Agency in 1992.

      After serving key posts in the NPA, he was elected vice president of Interpol in 2015. Kim was praised for stabilizing things after the former president, Meng Hongwei, was arrested by Chinese authorities who accused him of wrongdoing.

      Kim Jong-yang speaks at Interpol's general assembly in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday after being elected as the new head of the global law-enforcement body.

      The U.S. is believed to have played a key role in thwarting his Russian rival's election because there were fears that Prokopchuk could abuse the position to target political opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters, "We encourage all nations and organizations that are part of Interpol and that respect the rule of law to choose a leader with integrity. We believe Mr. Kim will be just that."

      Four U.S. senators in a joint statement on Monday warned Prokopchuk would weaken democracy within Interpol and claimed he had been personally involved in Putin's strong-arm tactics. The U.K. and other European countries also backed Kim.

      Interpol has 195 member nations and was established in 1923. It is among the few global organizations whose membership is higher than the UN. The Interpol president usually serves a four-year term, but Kim will be in office only until 2020, the remainder of Meng’s tenure, and cannot run for the office again.

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