In a blow to Russia, Interpol elects South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang its president

The Interpol on Wednesday elected its acting head Kim Jong Yang of South Korea its new president, the international police body announced on Twitter. Kim’s term will last for two years.

Kim was chosen by Interpol’s 194 member states at an annual congress in Dubai, reported BBC. He beat Russia’s Alexander Prokopchuk, who was widely tipped to win.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had endorsed Kim for the post after Interpol’s former chief Meng Hongwei was detained in China for allegedly taking bribes. Meng resigned from his post after being detained in China, following which Kim, who was the senior vice president, was appointed acting president.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of US senators had issued a letter accusing Russia of exploiting Interpol to harass dissidents by issuing arrest warrants, known as red notices, Reuters reported. The election of Prokopchuk would be “akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse”, CNN quoted from the Senators’ letter said.

Prokopchuk is a senior Russian interior ministry official. During his term as Interpol’s Moscow bureau chief, he was accused of abusing the red notice system to target critics of the Kremlin, BBC reported.