UPDATE — 10/7, 8:45 p.m. EDT: Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, resigned Sunday following an announcement by the Chinese government’s anti-corruption arm Meng “is currently under investigation on suspicion of violating the law”.
Meng’s wife, Grace, indicated to reporters in France she has feared for her husband’s safety since he sent her a text messaging containing a knife emoji after landing in China last month.
French authorities have opened a probe into the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese global head of the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol.
Mr. Meng has served as president of Interpol since 2016. In his role, Meng functions as the agency’s top executive, but does not oversee its day-to-day operations.
According to French officials, Meng had departed Lyons, France, for a voyage to China on Sept. 25, and was reported missing by his wife after failing to establish contact with him after his departure for Beijing.
Alerted to his disappearance, French officials launched an investigation and released a statement, which read:
“Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol president Meng Hongwei. This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.”
As the probe was underway, the South China Morning Post reported Friday Meng was taken into custody by Chinese discipline authorities upon his return to the Far East, but the circumstances over his detainment were unclear.
It is also unknown where Meng is being held.
Communist officials have declined to comment on Meng’s arrest, but French Interior Ministry officials have stated “exchanges” with Beijing are ongoing.
A paramount concern among Meng’s supporters is the likelihood he had been swept up in China’s newly created National Supervisory Commission, a panel entrusted with fighting official corruption.
A committee with sweeping powers, its dragnet has consumed several high-ranking Chinese politicians and government servants since its creation.
Meng, 64, is the first Chinese head of Interpol; his four-year term expires in 2020. Prior to his elevation to lead the organization, Meng served in a variety of law enforcement roles in China.
A senior Communist Party official, Meng previously served as Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security and also held the position of vice-chair of China’s national narcotics control commission and director of China’s National Counter-Terrorism Office.
Chinese law allows for the detention of individuals for up to two months without charges or access to family or legal counsel.
However, those detained by discipline police of the ruling Communist Party whose authority eclipses established law are known to face indefinite detainment without explanation.
[BBC] [The Independent] [AFP via Yahoo] [Photo courtesy AP/Du Yu/Xinhua via Sputnik]