Why the process for electing INTERPOL’s president is fair and democratic

5 November 2008

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing to you in relation to the article concerning the elections for INTERPOL president entitled "African votes spell defeat for Herrera in INTERPOL election", published by El Mercurio on 11 October.  The title of the article and its content are false and misleading.  Indeed, since the vote was secret it is impossible and wrong to place responsibility for the defeat of Mr Arturo HERRERA VERDUGO on any one INTERPOL region.  Before writing this letter I wanted to take the time to consult with all involved so as to determine the original source of the misleading information.  While I recognize that El Mercurio did not originate the story, its distribution of it adds to the misinformation and the confusion related to it. 

The only valid conclusion that could ever be drawn from the election of Mr. Boon Hui KHOO as INTERPOL’s President is that, when faced with the choice between two highly qualified senior police leaders to become INTERPOL’s President, INTERPOL’s General Assembly chose Mr. KHOO instead of Mr. HERRERA VERDUGO.

Mr Arturo HERRERA VERDUGO has been serving the Organization for many years on its Executive Committee, and is a well respected head of police.  He discharged his duties as INTERPOL Senior Vice President with the highest degree of professionalism and care.  He clearly demonstrated that he possessed all of the qualities that would have made him a fine President of INTERPOL, but the fact is that INTERPOL's General Assembly overwhelmingly elected another candidate, Mr. Boon Hui KHOO, who had an equally impressive leadership record. Mr KHOO has served as Singapore's Police Commissioner since 1997; is the former chair of INTERPOL’s Strategic Development Sub-Committee and has been actively working with the Organization as a whole for many years. 

It is therefore very unfortunate that such a respected journal as yours would falsely state - and thereby mislead your readers - that “The Singaporean Khoo committed resources to the African States most in need, which tilted the election in his favour, giving him a large majority in the secret ballot".Such a false statement calls into question the integrity not only of INTERPOL’s African member countries and our newly elected President, but also that of our entire organization embracing 187 member countries. Both Mr. KHOO and Mr. HERRERA VERDUGO promised to help INTERPOL’s poorest countries because doing so makes the entire organization stronger.  I can also personally assure you that no one region’s support can explain Mr. KHOO’s election as President.  He was elected following the first round of voting with almost 75 percent of voting INTERPOL member countries supporting him.  Therefore, INTERPOL General Assembly’s selection of Mr. Boon Hui KHOO as president reflects an overwhelming democratic expression in his favor from a wide range of INTERPOL member countries, not the need for resources by any one region of INTERPOL.

In closing, let me say that INTERPOL and I, as its Secretary General, have enjoyed a long and favorable relationship with Chile, with Mr. HERRERA VERDUGO, with the Policía de Investigaciones de Chile, and especially with the fine Chilean police officers occupying important posts at our Headquarters in Lyon, France and at our Sub-Regional Bureau in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Your country and its citizens have good reason to be proud of your police officers. 

In these challenging times any hint of impropriety in the work of police or blaming a failed election on any group of countries could diminish the effectiveness of our working relationship and police co-operation worldwide and such a result would indeed be unfortunate. 

For all of the above reasons, I would urge you to talk with those involved and to retract the misleading article.


Ronald K. Noble
Secretary General