China says Interpol chief Meng Hongwei is under investigation
08 October, 2018, 11:46
In a truly extraordinary sequence of events, Interpol has announced the resignation of its president after he "disappeared" while in China two weeks ago, only to later be confirmed as detained and under investigation by Chinese Communist Party officials.
Meanwhile, Interpol says Mr Meng resigned as the body's president on Sunday evening.
The global policing agency, in a release, said only that its general secretariat received Meng's resignation on Sunday, effective immediately.
The French ministry said last Friday that Meng's family had not heard from him since September 25, and French authorities said his wife was under police protection after getting threats.
Interpol, which is based in Lyon, said Saturday it made a formal request to China for information about Meng. That day, he sent her the knife image from an Interpol phone four minutes after sending an initial message saying, "Wait for my call".
But the call never came, she said, adding that she did not what happened to her husband.
The websites of French papers broadcast video clips showing Grace Meng speaking in a trembling voice, with her back to a TV camera in order to hide her appearance.
Ms Meng detailed the last messages she exchanged with her husband to reporters as part of an impassioned plea to help bring her missing husband to safety.
Interpol president still missing in China — wife says he sent her knife emoji as signal he was in danger
It continued that Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi had convened a midnight Communist Party committee at the ministry, which expressed "unanimous support" for the probe against Meng and pledged "absolute political loyalty" to President Xi Jinping and the party leadership.
Because Interpol's secretary general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect.
Grace Meng wouldn't speculate Sunday on what might have happened to him.
In Lyon, Grace Meng spoke to the news media just before Beijing issued its statement, pleading with national governments to intervene, saying she feared that her husband's life was in danger, Agence France-Presse reported.
Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, assists police in its 192 member countries to work together on matters of international crime.
When Meng was named Interpol's president in November 2016, human-rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas. "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".
French police launched an investigation to find him. Some of them might have been pursued by Chinese authorities under Meng's watch as vice minister for public security.
Mr Xi has been seeking the return of officials and business people accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, sometimes with the help of Interpol in an arrangement human rights advocates say is prone to abuse.
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