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Interpol chief Meng Hongwei under investigation, China says

12 October 2018

China's Ministry of Public Security on Monday said that the missing Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei has been placed under investigation for "taking bribes and suspected violations of law".

After days of concealing the fate of Meng Hongwei - who is also China's vice minister for public security - from the worldwide community, the public security ministry said Monday he had accepted bribes but provided no further details on the allegations or the conditions and location of Meng's apparent detention.

While day-to-day operations are overseen by Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock, Meng presided over the organisation's General Assembly and Executive Committee meetings, where key discussions around Interpol's general policies and global cooperation take place.

Since the announcement, Grace Meng has said that she will support her husband in "the pursuit of truth".

The freaky case of the former Interpol president Meng Hongwei, now detained and under investigation in China, has raised concerns about the country's expanded anti-corruption drive.

It did not provide more details about the allegations. "It fully shows that there are no special privileges or exceptions before the law".

The disappearance an interesting history of the former chinese boss of Interpol, who was prosecuted for corruption in his country, has dealt a blow to the image of Beijing and its ambition to consolidate its presence in the worldwide organizations, according to experts. However, previous suspects who have been described as "under investigation" by the National Supervisory Commission - the country's top anti-corruption agency - have often reappeared in the custody of the government at a later date.

French officials disclosed on Friday that Meng had been reported missing after leaving France for China. It has already brought cases that appeared to be only tangentially related to political corruption - which experts agree is rife in China - suggesting that its mandate includes securing the Communist Party's political control.

But the episode could be a setback for China.

The agency's secretary general Juergen Stock, who oversees day-to-day operations, said Saturday that it was seeking "clarification" on his whereabouts from Chinese authorities.

Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia adviser at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said international organisations "should think twice going forward before considering a Chinese candidate to be its head".

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Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday that China would continue to act as a "responsible power" that will "play its necessary role in global affairs and multilateral organisations".

Meng has lived in Lyon, where Interpol is headquartered, since assuming the role of president in 2016. His wife has revealed that he sent her a text message with a knife emoji (danger sign) on the day he went missing.

Four minutes before Meng sent the image, he had sent a message saying, "Wait for my call", according to the report.

"This is a matter for the worldwide community".

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

Meng is the latest "tiger" to fall in the anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lu insisted that the sudden arrest and lack of transparency in Meng's abduction was proof that China respected the rule of law.

Zhou - who was jailed for life in 2014 - was subsequently accused of conspiring to seize state power.

When Zhao announced the bribery case on Monday, he said Zhou had left a poisonous influence in the ministry - one that needed to be cleaned out.

Zhou appointed Meng vice security minister in 2004. In China's previous government, the ex-Interpol officer was a vice minister. Acting Interpol president Kim Jong Yang, of South Korea, said the organization had not been told previously of the investigation into Meng. "Making the president of Interpol suddenly disappear is embarrassing".

Interpol chief Meng Hongwei under investigation, China says