Interpol Says Chinese Chief Meng Hongwei Has Resigned

Interpol Says Chinese Chief Meng Hongwei Has Resigned

Meng is a senior security official in China as well as the head of Interpol. The update came after Beijing announced Meng Hongwei was under investigation in China.

Meng, 64, was named to the post of Interpol president in late 2016, part of a broader Chinese effort to gain leadership positions in key worldwide organizations. It did not say why.

He was not on French soil when he was last seen, according a senior French law enforcement official, who declined to say whether he was in China.

The Communist Party's corruption unit said Mr Meng, who is also China's vice minister of public security, is "suspected of violating the law and is now under the monitoring and investigation" of the body.

The statement by a Chinese anti-graft body was the first official word from China about Meng since his disappearance was reported in France on Friday.

Grace Meng told reporters that she last heard from her husband on September 25.

The French Interior Ministry on Saturday said Grace Meng and her children have been placed under protective custody after they received threats.

Critics of Meng's 2016 election to Interpol's presidency said he would use the position to help China target dissidents overseas under the guise of pursuing corrupt officials.

Grace Meng believes her husband to be in danger, AFP reported, citing a statement to reporters in Lyon, France, on Sunday. She said the knife was his way to tell her that he was in danger.

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When Meng was named Interpol's president in November 2016, human-rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper known for its connections inside the Chinese government, said Meng was "taken away" for questioning upon landing in China last week. "If what Meng is involved in is nothing more than an ordinary corruption case, there would have been no need for the authorities to handle it in such a manner", he said.

Beijing, which had remained tight-lipped about Meng's fate since French officials disclosed his disappearance on Friday, said in a one-line statement that Meng "is now under investigation on suspicion of violating the law".

Mrs. Meng declined to speculate on her husband's whereabouts.

She gave a statement about her husband's disappearance at a hotel in Lyon, while keeping her back to the camera's to hide her face as a safety precaution, The New York Times reported.

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.

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

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a crackdown on corruption.

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