Vanished Interpol boss now under investigation for suspected bribery, China says

Updated

October 08, 2018 18:48:16

Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei is now under investigation for suspected bribery, China’s Ministry of Public Security has said in a statement on its website.

Key points:

  • Former Interpol head went missing late last month on trip to China
  • In a statement, China says its investigation is both “very timely, and rather wise”
  • Mr Meng’s wife believes a final knife emoji message from husband was a warning

On Sunday, Interpol, the France-based global police coordination body, said that Mr Meng had resigned as its president.

Earlier on Sunday, China had said it was investigating Mr Meng, who is also a Vice Minister for Public Security in China, for suspected violations of the law.

“The investigation against Meng Hongwei’s taking and giving bribes and suspected violations of law is very timely, absolutely correct and rather wise,” the ministry said in a statement following an internal meeting.

Mr Meng’s unexplained disappearance in China late last month, which had prompted the French Government and Interpol to make their concerns known publicly, has threatened to tarnish Beijing’s image.

Mr Meng’s wife Grace, who remains in France, has been placed under police protection after receiving threats.

She told reporters in Lyon that she had not heard from her husband since September 25.

Ms Meng said he used his Interpol phone to send her an emoji image of a knife that day, four minutes after he sent a message saying: “Wait for my call.”

She said the call never came and she does not know what happened to him.

Of the knife image, she said: “I think he means he is in danger.”

She said he was in China when he sent the image.

“This is the last, last message from my husband,” she said.

“After that I have no call and he disappeared.”

Wife makes plea for husband’s safety

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.

“I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice and responsibility toward history,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion.

“For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children, so that their husbands and fathers will no longer disappear.”

Ms Meng would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her children.

She was accompanied to the hotel where she held her media conference by two French police officers who were assigned to look after her.

Before her husband shared the knife image, she 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”.

She said they had been in daily contact during his trip before he went missing in China.

In his role as a senior public security official in China, Mr Meng regularly travelled between Beijing and Lyon, France, where Interpol is based.

He had been on a three-country tour to Norway, Sweden and Serbia for Interpol before his latest trip back to China, Ms Meng said.

ABC/wires

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

corruption,

police,

world-politics,

china

First posted

October 08, 2018 18:31:38

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