China accuses former Interpol chief of taking bribes

08 October, 2018, 11:45 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Meng under investigation China breaks silence on Interpol director disappearance

China made its first official statement since Interpol chief Meng Hongwei went missing on September 25.

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.

His case could tarnish Beijing's efforts to gain leadership posts in worldwide organisations, but it is also a black eye for France-based Interpol, which is tasked with finding missing people, analysts say.

Interpol said later that Meng had resigned as president of the organisation, and that South Korean national Kim Jong Yang would become its acting president, while it would appoint a new president at a November 18-21 meeting of the organisation in Dubai.

Meng, who also is vice-minister of China's police apparatus, was reported missing after traveling from France to China.

Grace Meng detailed the chilling final exchange of messages with her husband, Meng Hongwei, to reporters Sunday in the French city of Lyon, where Interpol is based.

Grace Meng told reporters that Meng messaged her an emoji of knife that day, which she interpreted as a warning he was in danger.

Earlier Sunday, at an emotional press conference in Lyon, Grace Meng spoke for the first time about his disappearance.

"I'm pretty sure they would have expected an extraordinary response from the global community before taking such a decision", Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said.

China announced last night that the president of Interpol, who is one of its citizens and who vanished while on a trip home last month, had been arrested by its anti-corruption agency.

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In addition to his Interpol post, Meng is also a vice minister for public security in China.

China's top anti-corruption agency said in a one-sentence statement Sunday that Meng was suspected of breaking the law, without giving details.

Mrs. Meng declined to speculate on her husband's whereabouts.

Interpol is based in Lyon.

The wife of the missing president of Interpol says her husband sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared during a trip to their native China.

There have been several cases in recent years of senior Chinese officials vanishing without explanation, only for the government to announce weeks or even months later that they have been put under investigation, often for suspected corruption. "For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children's husbands and fathers to no longer disappear". He was elected head of Interpol in 2016.

The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials overseas, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law-enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities.

The Chinese government statement on Monday said that Meng's fall highlighted President Xi Jinping's resolve in cleaning up the ruling Communist Party and stressed the importance of political loyalty to the Party's leadership under Xi.

French police have been investigating what is officially termed in France a "worrying disappearance".

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