Interpol chiefs wife received knife emoji before his disappearance

China says detained former Interpol chief is focus of bribery probe

China says detained former Interpol chief is focus of bribery probe

In a statement posted on a government website, the authorities said Meng Hongwei, China's vice minister for public security, was being investigated due to his own "willfulness and for bringing trouble upon himself". China's courts and prosecutors answer to the Communist Party, and they rarely reject anticorruption investigators' findings.

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

The statement from China's Public Security Ministry does not list specific bribery charges against Meng, but links his alleged corruption with the former senior leader of China's Communist Party Zhou Yongkang. Acting Interpol president Kim Jong Yang, of South Korea, said the organization had not been told previously of the investigation into Meng. The shocking turnabout comes days after Meng's wife said the career police officer had disappeared; one week ago, he left France to visit his native China.

In a separate development, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation from the worldwide police agency with "immediate effect", according to statement posted on Sunday. He was the first Chinese official to become Interpol president, which is based in Lyon.

Mr Meng disappeared on a trip to China last month and Beijing informed Interpol, which is based in France, of his "resignation".

"Interpol's General Secretariat looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the President's well-being".

"We still don't have sufficient information about what's happening (with Meng) or whether it has anything to do with Chinese domestic politics", he added.

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 Interpol statement did not specify how they received the resignation message or if it arrived from Meng personally or a Chinese government intermediary.

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That was an ominous follow-up to an earlier message, which had asked her to wait for Meng to call.

Speaking in Lyon, the southeast French city where the worldwide police organisation is based, she said the last social media message she received from her husband came on September 25, depicting a single knife emoji. But she has good reason to be fearful: Speaking out about the fate of her high-profile husband risks China's ire and, she said, is putting her "in great danger". "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".

A statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security did not provide details about the allegations against Meng, but hinted that he may have been linked to former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

"The perseverance is constant, the corruption is determined, the anti-corruption is firmly adhered to, Zhou Yongkang's poisonous influence is resolutely thoroughly eliminated, and.clean government is continuously promoted", it says.

Speculation for the reasons behind Meng's swift downfall ranges from his access to sensitive information after a long career at the public security ministry to his tenure at Interpol, when the organisation revoked an global alert for Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, which is critical of China's treatment of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The Chinese journalist Chen Jieren, who had accused a party official in Hunan province of corruption, has been detained since July by the NSC and denied access to his lawyer, according to Radio Free Asia.

Officials at the meeting were told that they "must always maintain the political quality of being absolutely loyal to the party", the statement said.

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