Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Interpol President Resigns; Detained In China Over Bribery Charges

Interpol President Resigns; Detained In China Over Bribery Charges

"Public Security Ministry Vice Minister Meng Hongwei is now under investigation by the National Supervisory Commission for suspected violations of law", the Chinese anti-corruption body said in a brief statement on its website. Many don't have a chance to speak up even if they want to: spouses of officials under investigation, if they're in China, would likely be placed under 24-hour surveillance, Lam said.

Meng is the latest high-profile target to be ensnared in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by President Xi, who assumed power in 2012.

The Chinese vice public security minister's abrupt disappearance late last month caught Interpol off-guard, an embarrassing situation for an organisation whose mission is worldwide police cooperation. On October 5, Interpol acknowledged reports of his disappearance and said it "looked forward to an official response" from China regarding his whereabouts.

China has said that Meng's fall from grace is evidence that no one is above the law. Interpol later said it had received his resignation, effective immediately.

But the government's announcement did little to address concerns raised about the risks of appointing Chinese officials to leadership posts in worldwide organizations.

The public security ministry said Meng's case shows "that no one is above the law" and underscores the need to "thoroughly eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang".

His unexplained disappearance while on a trip home to China late last month had prompted the French government and Interpol to make their concerns known publicly in recent days.

Interpol said Sunday night that South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, a vice president representing Asia on Interpol's executive committee, would serve as acting president until the organization's general assembly picks a permanent president next month.

"I find it regrettable that the top leader of the organisation had to go out this way and that we weren't specifically notified of what was happening in advance", Kim said.

While saying he had no information about contact between Grace Meng and Chinese officials, Lu added that, "if Meng Hongwei's wife is a Chinese citizen, it's natural for Chinese diplomatic missions to contact her".

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While acknowledging that Mr. Meng was under detention, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asserted on Monday that the investigation demonstrated Beijing's iron will to crackdown on corruption.

The widely-publicised arrest of Meng came after another prominent Chinese figure on the world stage appeared to vanish after falling foul of Beijing.

But if corruption was the reason, then it seems reasonable to ask why the Chinese government didn't handle the whole issue through Interpol, as it has done with thousands of other cases.

She issued an emotional plea for worldwide help to find her husband.

"I'm not sure what has happened to him", she said. "For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children's husbands and fathers to no longer disappear".

Chinese authorities said Monday that Meng Hongwei was being lawfully investigated for taking bribes and other crimes that were a result of his "willfulness".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stoutly defended Beijing's unprecedented move to detain and probe Meng, saying that he is being probed for corruption and links with former security czar Zhou Yongkang now serving a life sentence after being convicted of a series of corruption charges, including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

In addition to his position at Interpol, Mr. Meng was a vice minister of public security, and he appeared to win promotion as a steady hand managing China's growing global policing interests and priorities.

It shows "regardless of what damage is done to China's global image, the Chinese Communist Party and government will not be soft on corruption, and will punish those who deserve to be punished", he said.

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