Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, elected South Korean Kim Jong-yang as its new president, in an unexpected result where Russian Alexander Prokopchuk was hotly tipped to take the post.
The 194-member policing body — which shares intelligence across countries, issues international arrest warrants and conducts searches for missing persons — made the decision during its annual conference in Dubai on Wednesday.
The lead-up to the vote saw Prokopchuk, one of the agency's four vice presidents and a former major general in Russia's interior ministry, tipped to win.
However, his candidacy spurred widespread condemnation from human rights groups and several countries, who pointed to his track record of issuing "red notices" — or Interpol arrest warrants — for opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Critics say he abused the system by taking advantage of his role to promote the Kremlin's agenda, which is known for targeting dissidents, activists and members of the press. Moscow has rejected claims of abuse.