Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Chilling call made to wife of ex-Interpol boss who disappeared

China says detained former Interpol chief is focus of bribery probe China confirms detaining missing ex-Interpol chief
Deanna Wagner | 12 October, 2018, 05:56

She said the only clue he gave about his identity was saying that he used to work for Meng, suggesting that the man was part of China's security apparatus.

The statement said Meng's fall highlighted Xi's resolve in cleaning up the ruling Communist Party and stressed the importance of political loyalty to the Party's leadership under Xi.

Interpol confirmed on Sunday that it "received the resignation of Mr. Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect, naming Senior Vice-President Kim Jong Yang as his acting replacement".

The case quickly raised suspicions that Meng might be under investigation, particularly after it was found that Meng had been tossed out of the Public Security Ministry's Communist Party Committee - an important role he had held earlier this year.

It did not provide more details about the allegations. Presently, the Chinese nationals hold top positions at several global institutions including the UN, IMF, World Bank and UNESCO. It is widely apprehended that detention of Mr Meng would raise some concern among worldwide institutions and they could show reluctance in appointing Chinese officials to high positions in future. "It has also made very clear that this case fully demonstrates that the party is firm in fighting corruption".

Chinese authorities announced Mr Meng was detained and is being investigated under an anti-corruption clampdown. When - or if - they reappear, it is often in court. He is the latest target of President Xi's anti-corruption campaign.

But the episode could be a setback for China.

The agency's secretary general Juergen Stock had said on Saturday that it was seeking "clarification" on his whereabouts from Chinese authorities.

"Any global organisation should think twice going forward before considering a Chinese candidate to be its head", Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia adviser at Washington's Center for Strategic and worldwide Studies, told AFP.

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.

Meng, 64, was elected president of Interpol in November 2016 and his term was to last until 2020.

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Earlier Sunday, Meng's wife, Grace, held a press conference in Lyon at which she disclosed that the last communication she received from her husband was an emoji of a knife that he texted on September 25, the Associated Press reported.

That day, Grace Meng said he sent a message telling her to "wait for my call", before sending the emoji signifying danger.

"Although I can't see my husband, we are always connected by heart", she said.

Responding to a question about Meng Hongwei at a daily briefing, Lu said "relevant people should not attempt to make excuses for their corrupted and criminal acts" by "slandering" the government of President Xi Jinping, who has waged a wide-ranging and politically charged campaign against graft.

French authorities are still trying to determine whether China did indeed, as the mysterious caller menaced, dispatch agents to get to Grace Meng, the wife of Meng Hongwei.

Zhou - who was jailed for life in 2014 - was subsequently accused of conspiring to seize state power.

"We should resolutely oppose corruption and resolutely eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang", it said.

Zhou appointed Meng vice security minister in 2004. Meng's biography page, which had previously listed his experience leading China's counterterrorism office, has also been scrubbed from the website.

Mr. Meng's detention came to light after his wife reported that she had lost touch with her husband, who was on a visit to China from France - where Interpol is headquartered.

Despite his good work, more than a few members of the Interpol executive committee were concerned that China was using the global policing organisation to pursue dissidents and outspoken members of its diaspora.