China confirms detention of former Interpol chief
China on Sunday confirmed the detention of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei.
Iran Press/ Asia: The Chinese head of Interpol, who vanished last month after returning to his homeland, was under investigation for possible criminal activity, China announced late on Sunday, as the world police organisation said he had resigned, China Morning Post reported.
Meng, 64, was reported missing last week by his wife in Lyon, France, where Interpol is based.
Grace Meng said she had not heard from her husband since September 25, according to a statement from the French interior ministry.
While Beijing did not provide any further information about Meng’s detention, analysts said that the fact it was willing to jeopardise its' diplomatic relations by snatching a high-profile official in such a way suggested the stakes were high. Meng is also a Chinese deputy public security minister.
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.
Meng said the last social media message she received from her husband came on September 25, saying “wait for my call,” followed by a knife emoji.
“This matter belongs to the international community,” Meng told a press conference in English. “I’m not sure what has happened to him.”
A source told the South China Morning Post on Friday that Meng was “taken away” for questioning by discipline authorities “as soon as he landed in China.”
But the midnight statement by the NSC did not mention if Meng was suspected of breaking any Communist Party rules, a form of words the anti-corruption agency usually adopts to refer to its investigations.
As of Sunday afternoon, the final day of the National Day holiday, the Ministry of Public Security had yet to comment on the issue, though its website showed that a top level Communist Party committee meeting had been held on September 30, the day before the week-long break got under way.
During the meeting, State Councillor and Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi relayed details of talks held a day earlier involving President Xi Jinping’s chief of staff Ding Xuexiang. Ding was said to have urged officials within party headquarters and the central government to remain vigilant to the threat of corruption.
Interpol on Saturday issued a formal request to Beijing for information on the whereabouts of Meng, while French police said they were running their own investigation into his disappearance.
Meng’s wife and children have been placed under protective custody after receiving threats, the French interior ministry said on Saturday.