Friday, 19 October, 2018

China says Interpol chief Meng Hongwei is under investigation

Meng under investigation China breaks silence on Interpol director disappearance Wife of missing Interpol president says he sent her a photo of a knife
Charlie Simmons | 08 October, 2018, 09:26

It said: "Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China's authorities on the status of Interpol's president Meng Hongwei". It did not say why.

The unusual case erupted into public view on Friday, when French authorities announced a search for the Chinese national after his wife Grace, who is living in France, reported him missing to local police.

The Communist Party's corruption unit said Mr Meng, who is also China's vice minister of public security, is "suspected of violating the law and is now under the monitoring and investigation" of the body.

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

This photo shows the last message sent by missing Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, to his wife, Grace Meng.

Ms Meng said: "His job is very busy".

"France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received", the statement said.

Interpol announced Sunday that it had accepted the resignation of its president, Meng Hongwei, who disappeared in China in late September.

Early on October 7, Grace Meng held a press conference in Lyon, speaking to reporters from around the world for the first time about her husband's disappearance. He sent her the knife image that day, four minutes after he sent a message saying, "Wait for my call".

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However she claims to have not heard from him since, adding that she does not know what happened to him.

Meng, who is China's vice minister for public security and a former head of Interpol China, was elected president of Interpol in November 2016.

The organisation links up police officials from its 192 member states, who can use Interpol to disseminate their search for a fugitive or a missing person.

Beijing, which had remained quiet about the 64-year-old's status since French officials announced his disappearance on Friday, said in a statement that Meng "is now under investigation on suspicion of violating the law".

"I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice, and responsibility toward history", she said. Some of them might have been pursued by Chinese authorities under Meng's watch.

"This matter belongs to the worldwide community", Meng told a press conference in English.

She kept her back turned to the reporters at the press conference, and refused to be photographed out of fear for her safety.

Meng's vanishing act bears hallmarks of what happens to senior officials when they are suspected of violating party rules, usually alleged corruption.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a crackdown on corruption.

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