Interpol president resigns amid Beijing probe

Ex-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei under investigation for suspected bribery China

Ex-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei under investigation for suspected bribery China

China has confirmed it is holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei.

Paris - Interpol says it has received the resignation of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese president of the worldwide police organization who went missing one week ago.

Meng, who is concurrently a Chinese deputy minister of public security, was elected to head Interpol in 2016 and slated to serve at its Lyon, France, headquarters until 2020.

Interpol said South Korean national Kim Jong Yang would becomes its acting president, while it would appoint a new president at a 18-21 November meeting of the organisation in Dubai.

The confirmation came amid reports that Interpol has asked China about its missing president. Grace Meng detailed the last messages she exchanged with her husband, Interpol President Meng Hongwei, to reporters as part of her unusual appeal.

Meng's wife had suspected danger to her husband's life after she revealed that he sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared.

"This matter belongs to the global community", Meng told a press conference in English.

"I'm pretty sure they would have expected an extraordinary response from the worldwide community before taking such a decision", Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said.

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

French police announced on Friday that they were leading investigations to find Mr Meng.

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Meng, a Chinese national, was first reported missing on September 29. Meng is China's vice minister for public security, and regularly traveled between Beijing and Lyon, France, where Interpol is based.

A short time later, Interpol released a short, odd statement of its own, declaring that it had received Meng's resignation.

China's National Supervisory Commission had issued a statement on Sunday, confirming that the Interpol chief was being probed for his suspected involvement in the violation of state laws.

However, Meng's wife sought to distance her husband from Zhou, saying the two men did not get on.

Ms Meng would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her children. The policing organization did not explain how they received the resignation notice and how they determined its authenticity.

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.

Early this year, China officially established the NSC, a new all-powerful anti-corruption agency that was written into the Chinese Constitution.

The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials overseas, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law-enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without authorisation.

According to Interpol's website, Meng has almost 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counterterrorism. She said he was in China when he sent the message.

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