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

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

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 Prokopchuk’s attempts to be named the next president of the policing organisation.

The US and others expressed concern that Prokopchuk’s election would lead 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 Prokopchuk a respected professional.

Groups campaigning to clean up Interpol celebrated the win, as did South Korea. Kim 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.

Interpol was facing a pivotal moment in its history as delegates decided which of the men to elect.