South Korea's Kim Jong Yang elected Interpol president

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

South Korea's Kim Jong Yang has been elected as Interpol's president ahead of the controversial Russian candidate.

Mr Kim edged out Alexander Prokopchuk, a long-time veteran of Russia's security services who was strongly opposed by the US, UK and other European nations.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said it would be ‘disrespectful’ to the victims of the novichok poisonings if the Russian candidate got elected in.

The surprise election result was seen as a victory for the White House and its European partners, who had lobbied up until the final hours before the vote against Mr Prokopchuk's attempts to be named the next president of the policing organisation.

The US and others expressed concern that if Russia's candidate had been elected, that would have led to further Kremlin abuses of Interpol's red notice system to go after political opponents and fugitive dissidents.

Russia accused its critics of running a "campaign to discredit" its candidate, calling Mr Prokopchuk a respected professional.



'National triumph'


Groups campaigning to clean up Interpol celebrated the win, as did South Korea. South Korea's police and Foreign Ministry issued a joint statement saying Mr Kim's election is a "national triumph" that could elevate South Korea's  international standing.

Mr Kim's win means he secured at least two-thirds of votes cast at Interpol's general assembly in Dubai. He will serve until 2020, completing the four-year mandate of his predecessor, Meng Hongwei, who was detained in China as part of a wide anti-corruption sweep there.

Mr Kim, a police official in South Korea, was serving as interim president after Meng's departure from the post and was senior vice president at Interpol.

Russia's Interior Ministry said after the vote that Mr Prokopchuk, who is one of three vice presidents at Interpol, will remain in that position.

Spokeswoman Irina Volk told the Interfax news agency that Mr Prokopchuk will "focus on advancing the stature of Interpol in the international police community and making its work more effective".

Most of Interpol's 194 member countries attended the organisation's annual assembly this year, which was held in an opulent Dubai hotel along the Persian Gulf coast.