Meng Hongwei | Beijing accuses ex-Interpol chief of bribery, other crimes

4 2017 shows Meng Hongwei president of Interpol delivering an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

China says detained former Interpol chief is focus of bribery probe

It did not provide any details on the charges against Meng or when he allegedly committed the crimes in question.

Meng's disappearance made news last week after his wife in Lyon - Interpol's headquarters in France - reported him missing for several days after he left for China. Making her first public comments on the mystery surrounding Meng Hongwei's whereabouts, Grace Meng told reporters in Lyon, France on Sunday she thinks the knife was her husband's way of trying to tell her he was in danger.She says she has had no further contact with him since the message that was sent on September 25.

Chinese authorities said Monday they are investigating the former president of Interpol for bribery and other crimes and indicated that political transgressions may have also landed the Chinese official in trouble. He has been designated as the core leader and a constitutional amendment has removed the two-term limit for President paving the way for him to be leader for life. Many other top Chinese government officials and billionaires were similarly taken into custody, said a report in BBC.

But China's beleaguered rights activists point out that as someone with a seat atop the country's powerful public security apparatus, Meng has helped build the opaque system of largely unchecked power wielded by the ruling Communist Party to which he's now fallen victim.

"The case is under investigation".

The election of Meng Hongwei at the head of the institution of police cooperation at the end of 2016 had been a triumph for the regime of president Xi Jinping, despite concerns that it had raised among the defenders of the rights of man.

Beijing said he was under investigation by the country's anti-corruption body for unspecified breaches of the law.

Chinese authorities scrambled to contain a public relations mess over the disappearance of the former Interpol president during his trip home to China, saying Monday that he was being lawfully investigated for bribery and other crimes.

In a sign of the urgent and possibly unplanned nature of the investigation, the Ministry of Public Security said in an announcement that top ministry officials met in the early hours of Monday to discuss Meng's case. Chinese government also officially notified the Interpol of this, he said.

China's move to go after Meng, an official with an worldwide standing, was unusually audacious even for an administration that under Xi's leadership has sought to assert its interests more aggressively on the global stage.

Despite his good work, more than a few members of the Interpol executive committee were concerned that China was using the worldwide policing organisation to pursue dissidents and outspoken members of its diaspora.

"As the world's largest police cooperative organisation", he said, "Interpol has the responsibility and obligation to highlight the contribution of the police officers in public service, to remember their deeds and to comfort their families".

Grace Meng said she had put their two boys to bed when she got the threatening call - one week after her last contact with her husband.

Asked if she believed that he has been arrested, Grace Meng said: "In China, what happened, I'm not sure".

"Today, Sunday 7 October, (at) the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect", Interpol said in a statement on Sunday.

Interpol said Sunday night that South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, a vice president representing Asia on Interpol's executive committee, would serve as acting president until the organization's general assembly picks a permanent president next month.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a crackdown on corruption. Last week, actress Fan Bingbing, who disappeared in July, was fined $129 million for tax evasion.

But Cheng Xiaohe, an global relations professor at Renmin University, said that while the case "damages" China's image, it also demonstrates that it "does not care too much about saving face in anti-corruption matters".

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