US endorses South Korean candidate to lead Interpol, amid fears of abuse if Russian is elected

Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk (left) with Meng Hongwei, who has been detained on bribery charges.
Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk (left) with Meng Hongwei, who has been detained on bribery charges.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday (Nov 20) threw its weight behind the South Korean candidate to lead Interpol, Kim Jong-Yang, as controversy rages over a Russian candidate to lead the organisation.

Kim is currently the acting president.

A vote is set to take place on Wednesday in Dubai on the final day of Interpol's annual conference to replace former president Meng Hongwei, who is now detained in China on bribery charges.

"We strongly endorse Kim Jong-Yang, who is serving as its acting president," Pompeo told reporters.

"We encourage all nations and organisations 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."

Critics have urged Interpol to reject Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk, over fears Moscow could abuse the role to target political opponents.