French police have opened an investigation into the whereabouts of the president of international police cooperation agency Interpol, after he was reported missing, having travelled home to his native China last week.

The wife of Meng Hongwei contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the agency has its headquarters, after not hearing from her husband since he travelled to China on 29 September, police sources said.

The investigation was first reported by French radio Europe 1.

Interpol's main function is to provide a mechanism for police forces in different countries to notify each other of wanted suspects.

Mr Meng has held several senior positions in China including vice minister of public security.

He was named president of Interpol in 2016.

Rights groups expressed concern at the time that Beijing might try to use his position at the body to go after dissidents abroad.

China has tried for many years to enlist the help of foreign countries to arrest and deport back to the country citizens it accuses of crimes including corruption and terrorism.

Interpol said it was aware of reports of the "alleged disappearance" of its president and said the issue was a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China.

It said that the organisation's secretary general, not Mr Meng, was responsible for the day-to-day running of Interpol.

"Interpol's General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further," the statement added.