China confirms detention of Interpol chief, announces his resignation

China confirms detention of Interpol chief, announces his resignation
Interpol has received the resignation of its chief Meng Hongwei, who Beijing has confirmed is being held for 'violating the law' under Xi Jinping's anti-graft probe
2 min read
07 October, 2018
Meng Hongwei is in Chinese detention and has officially resigned from Interpol [Getty]

The international police organisation Interpol announced Sunday that it has received the resignation of its Chinese chief Meng Hongwei, who has been missing since September 25 and is suspected by Beijing of "violating the law". 

Meng has resigned "with immediate effect" and Senior Vice President Kim Jong Yang of South Korea has become acting president, Interpol said in a statement.

Meng, the first Chinese president of Interpol, was last heard from on September 25 as he left Lyon, where the police agency is based, for China.

That day, his wife said he sent a social media message telling her to "wait for my call", before sending a knife emoji signifying danger. She said she feared for his life.

Beijing had remained tight-lipped about Meng's fate since French officials disclosed his disappearance on Friday.

However China's National Supervisory Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, said in a one-line statement early Monday that Meng "is currently under investigation on suspicion of violating the law".

It is the latest high-profile disappearance in China, where a number of top government officials, billionaire business magnates and even an A-list celebrity have vanished for weeks or months at a time.

Interpol also said in its statement that it will elect a new president for the remaining two years of the current mandate at its general assembly to be held in Dubai on November 18-21.

French police had opened an investigation into Meng's disappearance last week, according to a source close to the inquiry.

Meng, 64, had lived with his wife and two children in France since being elected Interpol president in 2016.

China's recently established National Supervisory Commission holds sweeping powers to investigate the country's public servants with few requirements for transparency.

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.

Some critics of the effort - which has punished more than one million officials - say it also functions as a tool for Xi to eliminate his political rivals.

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