Wednesday 13 November 2019

Missing Interpol chief is accused of accepting bribes

Meng Hongwei was last heard from on September 25. Photo: AP
Meng Hongwei was last heard from on September 25. Photo: AP

Michael Silke

The former Chinese head of Interpol, who went missing last month, was accused yesterday of accepting bribes, becoming the latest top official to fall into President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption dragnet.

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

French officials disclosed last week Mr Meng had been reported missing after leaving France - where Interpol is based - for China, while his wife voiced concern for his life two weeks after he texted her an ominous knife emoji.

Interpol said Mr Meng had resigned and would be temporarily replaced by a South Korean official until an election in November. That announcement came hours after China's anti-corruption body said he was under investigation for violating unspecified laws. The public security ministry released a statement yesterday, saying Mr Meng accepted bribes and the investigation "clearly expressed comrade Xi Jinping's" determination to fully carry out the struggle against corruption.

"It shows that no one is above the law, with no exceptions. Anyone who violates the law will be seriously investigated and severely punished," the statement said, adding others suspected of accepting bribes alongside him would be investigated and dealt with.

Mr Meng is the latest high-profile Chinese citizen to disappear, with a number of top government officials, billionaire business magnates and even an A-list celebrity vanishing for weeks or months at a time. When - or if - they reappear, it is often in court.

Mr Meng, the first Chinese president of Interpol, was last heard from on September 25 as he left Lyon, where Interpol is based.

Irish Independent

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