Missing Interpol chief 'sent wife danger message' before being detained in China

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

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

The French ministry said on Friday that Meng's family had not heard from him since September 25, and the French authorities said his wife had been placed under police protection after receiving threats.

"France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received", the statement said.

Speaking to reporters in France on Sunday, Meng's wife Grace said she had received a message from his phone containing a knife emoji before his disappearance.

Speaking today, Mrs Meng said she has had no further contact with her husband since the message with a knife image inside was sent on September 25.

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

Asked if she believes he has been arrested, she said: "In China, what happened, I'm not sure".

A brief statement on the website of the Chinese National Supervisory Committee said only that Meng, 64, was suspected of breaking the law and was under "supervision", a euphemism for detention.

It is not clear why Meng - the first Chinese president of Interpol - would be under investigation. It was not until almost midnight on Sunday that China finally provided an explanation, releasing a one-sentence statement which said that Meng was under the "monitoring and investigation" of anti-corruption party investigators.

His family lost touch with him after he travelled from France, where Interpol is based, to China.

The campaign has since punished over 1 million officials of varying stature, who are often suddenly detained without warning only to emerge later in detention.

She kept her back turned to the reporters at the press conference, and refused to be photographed out of fear for her safety.

Meng Hongwei, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, was the first Chinese official to become president of Interpol, which is based in Lyon. The former president of an organization like Interpol being imprisoned on corruption charges would not be a good look for future Communist Party members hoping to head global organizations.

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

Interpol has acknowledged reports about Meng's disappearance, and said in an email that it "is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

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

It said: "Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China's authorities on the status of Interpol's president Meng Hongwei". Citing an unnamed source it said Meng had been "taken away" for questioning by disciplinary authorities "as soon as he landed in China".

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

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.