Interpol chief Meng Hongwei resigns after detention in China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

Interpol chief Meng Hongwei resigns after detention in China

Interpol says France received Meng Hongwei’s resignation as president with immediate effect.

Interpol president Meng Hongwei vanished during a trip to China in September [File/AFP]
Interpol president Meng Hongwei vanished during a trip to China in September [File/AFP]

France has received the resignation of Meng Hongwei as president of Interpol with immediate effect, according to the international police agency.

The development came on Sunday shortly after China said Meng, who went missing 12 days ago, was under investigation for unspecified violations of Chinese law.

The National Supervisory Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, said in a statement that Meng “is currently under investigation on suspicion of violating the law.”

Earlier on Sunday, Meng Hongwei’s wife, Grace, said her husband sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared during a trip to their native China.

Making her first public comments on the issue, Grace Meng told reporters in Lyon, France, that she thought the knife was her husband’s way of trying to tell her he was in danger.

She said she has had no further contact with him since the message that was sent on September 25. Grace also said four minutes before Meng shared the image, he had sent a message saying: “Wait for my call.”

Grace Meng told journalists that she thought the knife emoji meant her husband was in danger [Jeff Pachoud/AFP]

Grace Meng would not speculate on Sunday on what might have happened to him.

Asked if she believed that he has been arrested, she said: “In China, what happened, I’m not sure.”

She read a statement during her press conference in Lyon, but would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her two children.

Meng is a senior Chinese security official as well as president of the International Criminal Police Organisation.

The Lyon-based international police agency said on Saturday it has used law enforcement channels to inquire with China about Meng’s status.

Grace Meng would not allow her face to be shown over fears for her safety [Jeff Pachoud/AFP]

His disappearance was made public on Friday, when French authorities said they were opening an investigation to find out what happened to Meng, a Chinese national who served a lengthy term as the vice minister for public security.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post newspaper, Meng was taken in for questioning by Chinese authorities. The paper, which based its reporting on an unnamed source, said the reason for Meng’s questioning was unknown.

Meng’s disappearance was originally reported by his wife, who told French police in the city of Lyon she had not heard from him since he traveled to China.

Meng served a lengthy term as China’s vice minister for public security [File: Xinhua via AP]

According to Interpol’s website, Meng has nearly 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism.

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng’s appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more international help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping‘s anti-corruption campaign.

But Interpol has, in the past, denied this, saying its head does not intervene in day-to-day operations, which are handled by Secretary-General Juergen Stock who is German.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

Interpol chief Meng Hongwei disappears on visit to China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Interpol chief Meng Hongwei disappears on visit to China

Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol, gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore on July 4, 2017.

 GETTY

Last Updated Oct 5, 2018 11:19 AM EDT

French police have opened an investigation into the disappearance last month of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the international police organization Interpol, sources close to the inquiry told European news outlets on Friday. Meng was last seen leaving for China from Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, in late September, the source said. His wife reported him missing.

Interpol’s website notes that Meng has served as Vice Minister of Public Security in his native China. The organization released a statement saying the whereabouts of its leader was a “matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.”

French police said the case was being handled by the public prosecutor in Lyon, but there was no immediate comment from that office.

An official at the global police organization told The Associated Press that Meng did leave France and arrive in China at the end of September, and that there had been no news of him since.

Chinese newspaper the South China Morning Post quoted unnamed officials as saying Meng was the subject of an investigation in China and that he was “taken away” for questioning by authorities “as soon as he landed” in the country. The Post said it was unclear what Meng might be under investigation for.

News of Meng’s apparent disappearance comes on the heels of an announcement by Chinese officials that Hollywood star Fan Bingbing, who also vanished without a trace several months ago, has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in alleged back taxes and penalties. The announcement of the fines this week by Communist Party officials shed no light on her current whereabouts.

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Chinese security official elected Interpol chief

 

Chinese security official elected Interpol chief

Story highlights

  • Meng Hongwei is first Chinese official to head Interpol
  • China seeking international cooperation in hunt for corrupt officials overseas

Hong Kong (CNN)A top Chinese security minister has been elected president of the international crime fighting and police cooperation organization Interpol.

Meng Hongwei, China’s vice minister for public security and a former head of Interpol China, took the post Thursday at the organization’s general assembly in Bali, Indonesia.
According to a statement from Interpol, he said he stood ready to do everything he could towards the cause of policing the world. “We currently face some of the most serious global public security challenges since World War Two,” said Mr Meng.
The move could bolster China’s efforts to repatriate fugitive officials but critics have voiced concern that Beijing could use the crime-fighting body to track down dissidents based overseas.
He is the first Chinese official to become Interpol president, according to Xinhua.
Interpol’s secretary-general is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day work of the organization, currently Jurgen Stock.
The election of a Chinese policeman to head the world’s largest law enforcement agency is highly concerning, said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International regional director for East Asia.
“(This is) someone who presides over a police force notorious for human rights abuses and is a tool for political enforcement of a one party system,” he told CNN.
Bequelin also pointed to previous incidents where China has sought to use Interpol red notices — which place people on global wanted lists — against political dissidents.
According to Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution, “it is strictly forbidden for the organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
One Chinese dissident placed on an Interpol red notice by China is Dolkun Isa, despite his being granted political asylum by Germany, according to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Isa is head of the World Uyghur Congress, which speaks on behalf of Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority living in China’s Xinjiang province.
Western governments have long refused to enforce the notice against Isa, but in 2016, he was denied a visa to visit India due to his status. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei justified this on the grounds that Isa is “wanted for violent terrorist activities.”

Foxhunt

As well as targeting dissidents, China has long pushed for international cooperation in seeking repatriation of corrupt officials who have fled overseas.
Operation Foxhunt has seen more than 2,000 “economic fugitives”, including 342 former officials, returned to China since 2014, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
“Western countries can’t become ‘safe havens’ for corrupt fugitives. No matter where they have escaped to, we will try every means to bring them back,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2014.
Bequelin said that “nobody is opposed to China exercising leadership roles in international organizations if it is done in a way that is in line with good practice.”
“But there are many areas where China’s own record is worrying in that respect and policing would definitely come at the top of this list,” he added.