China reveals 'missing' Interpol president Meng Hongwei 'is under investigation'

08 October, 2018, 07:13 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Wife of missing Interpol president says he sent her a photo of a knife

Beijing's admission came just hours after his wife, Grace Meng, told a press conference in Lyon, France, on Sunday, that her husband had sent her the image of a knife shortly before he disappeared that she was convinced it was his way of signalling he was at risk.

Meng, 64, had lived with his wife and two children in France since being elected Interpol president in 2016 for four years.

On Saturday, quoting a source, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post had reported that Meng, the first Chinese head of the global law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" in the last week of September.

The appeal by Meng's wife for justice and fairness echoed pleas from the families of scores of people who fell afoul of the Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping's rule. She was accompanied to the hotel where she held her press conference by two French police officers who were assigned to look after her. Interpol has acknowledged reports about Meng's disappearance, and said in an email that it "is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

Last week, his wife, Grace Meng, reported him as missing to French police, explaining that she had not heard from her husband since he arrived in China the week before.

"This is the last, last message from my husband", she said. Grace Meng wouldn't speculate Sunday on what might have happened to him.

Interpol, which is based in Lyon, said Saturday it made a formal request to China for information about Meng.

She said she has had no further contact with him since the message was sent on September 25. He had been on a three-country tour, to Norway, Sweden and Serbia, for Interpol before his latest trip back to China, she said. During Meng's tenure, Interpol issued a red notice for fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who threatened to reveal corruption at the country's highest levels.

CNN reported earlier Sunday that the way Meng went missing was, in fact, pretty common when senior officials of China's ruling Communist Party are accused of violating its rules.

The campaign has since punished over 1 million officials of varying stature, who are often suddenly detained without warning only to emerge later in detention.

French prosecutors said on Friday they had launched an investigation.

Adding to the mystery, the worldwide police agency tweeted Sunday night that it received Meng's resignation and that Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, a vice president representing Asia on Interpol's executive committee, would serve as acting president until Interpol's general assembly picks a permanent president next month.

Wong reported from Beijing.


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