Interpol chief Meng Hongwei under investigation, China says

Lamar Ellis
October 7, 2018

The disciplinary organ of China's ruling Communist Party said in a brief statement on its website, Meng was "suspected of violating the law and is now under the monitoring and investigation" of China's new anti-corruption body, the National Supervision Commission.

The Lyon-based worldwide police agency said Saturday it has used law enforcement channels to inquire with China about Meng's status.

A journalist holds the mobile phone of the wife of missing Interpol President Meng Hongwey, showing what she says is the last message exchanged with her husband, during a press conference on October 7, 2018 in Lyon.

Earlier that day she had sent him a photo of two animal figurines, one of a bear and another of a horse, meant to represent their two children; one of them loves horses, she said, and the other "looks like the bear".

Interpol said Sunday night that Meng had resigned as president of the agency's executive committee, effectively immediately.

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

French local media reports she has issued a brief statement about the situation from a hotel in Lyon.

Her statement came just before Chinese authorities confirmed that the chief is under investigation for unspecified violations of the law.

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Meng is the first from his country to serve as Interpol's president, a post that is largely symbolic but powerful in status. But it does not have the power to send officers into countries to arrest individuals or issue arrest warrants.

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'His job is very busy, ' she said.

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

The Chinese politician has been heading the International Criminal Police Organization since 2016.

Although the commission did not detail the allegations against Meng, its mandate is to investigate corruption cases as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

Meng rose up the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

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.

Interpol has downplayed the concerns, saying the president has little influence over the organisation's day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Stock, a German.

After China admitted it had Meng in custody, the paper quoted Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan, who said: "I guess something urgent must have happened".

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