China says missing Interpol chief Meng Hongwei is under investigation

MOSCOW RUSSIA ? JULY 6 2018 Interpol President Meng Hongwei at an International Cybersecurity Congress at Moscow's World Trade Centre. Mikhail Metzel  TASS

It did not say why.

In addition to his Interpol post, Meng is also a vice minister for public security in China.

Meng's wife said he had returned to China, where they are both from, to work and called on the worldwide community to find her husband.

China's National Supervision Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, said Mr Meng was under investigation in a statement on its website.

The worldwide policing agency, in a release, said only that its general secretariat received Meng's resignation on Sunday, effective immediately.

Four minutes before he sent the knife emoticon image, he sent his wife a text message saying: "Wait for my call".

Two days after he was reported to have gone missing on his China visit, Interpol president Meng Hongwei has submitted his resignation to France, Interpol has said.

China has confirmed it is holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei.

The statement came after Mr Hongwei's wife, Grace Meng, told reporters how her husband "singalled he was in danger" by sending her an image of a knife.

She said she has had no further contact with him since the message was sent on September 25.

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"I'm not sure what has happened to him", she said.

It adds that a "suitable police mechanism" was put in place to guarantee Grace Meng's safety, and that the prosecutor's office in Lyon has opened an investigation.

Fearing her and her two children's safety, Grace Meng hid her face from reporters.

She said she was taking the unusual step of speaking out because she felt a greater responsibility. "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".

China would have been well aware of those risks before acting in the way it did, Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said.

"This is the last, last message from my husband", she said. China now has 44 outstanding red notices, mostly related to murder, intentional injury and drug smuggling, according to Interpol's website.

Meng's unexplained disappearance in China, which had prompted the French government and Interpol to make their concerns known publicly, threatened to tarnish Beijing's image as a rising Asian power.

Rights groups voiced concerns around the time of Mr Meng's election as Interpol president in 2016 that the chief would pursue a politicised agenda that might target Xi's opponents.

Meng's seizure on suspicion of corruption is an ironic reversal for a Chinese official whose ascent to the top of Interpol was supposed to aid Beijing's efforts in catching corrupt runaway officials.

The term usually describes investigators in the ruling Communist Party who probe graft and political disloyalty.

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