China accuses ex-Interpol chief of bribery, other crimes

Lester Mason
October 12, 2018

Meng, the first Chinese person to head Interpol, was at one time China's vice minister of public security, which oversees law enforcement in the country.

On Monday, the acting Interpol president told The Associated Press the agency had not been informed in advance of the Chinese probe into Meng Hongwei, who is also China's vice minister of public security.

Chinese authorities said Monday that Meng was being lawfully investigated for taking bribes and other crimes that were a result of his "willfulness".

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has resigned, after being detained by Chinese authorities who accuse him of corruption.

Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of global relations at people's University in Beijing, acknowledges that the case "tarnish" the image of China.

Human rights advocates say Meng is likely being held in liuzhi or "retention in custody" - a form of detention used by the NSC that denies detainees access to legal counsel or families for as long as six months. "The brazenness with which China operates outside all concept or procedure of worldwide norms is really concerning".

In particular, the country's public security bureau links Meng's detention to a broader initiative to "completely remove the pernicious influence" of Zhou Yongkang, who led China's domestic security sector until 2014, when he was sentenced to life in prison under corruption charges.

He disappeared in late September, after leaving Lyon on a trip from France to China. His wife has since reported him missing. Facilitating worldwide police cooperation among its 192 members in a world where crime is increasingly transnational and geopolitical relationships are fraught is tough. When - or if - they reappear, it is often in court. Mr. Meng's detention is nearly tantamount to a conviction.

Some critics of Xi's anti-graft campaign - which has punished more than one million officials - say it also functions as a tool for the Communist Party general secretary to eliminate his political rivals. Hours earlier, Interpol said Meng had resigned as the worldwide police agency's president.

Meng Hongwei, a former head of Interpol China, was elected president of the worldwide organization in November 2016. But it also shows that Beijing "does not have much concern for his image when it comes to fighting corruption".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stoutly defended Beijing's unprecedented move to detain and probe Meng, saying that he is being probed for corruption and links with former security czar Zhou Yongkang now serving a life sentence after being convicted of a series of corruption charges, including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets. Instead, the statement condemned Meng personally, asserting that his "insistence on doing things in his own way means he has only himself to blame for being placed under investigation".

Meng is the latest high-ranking official, and one with an unusually prominent global standing, to fall victim to a sweeping crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on graft and perceived disloyalty.

She said she thought he sent an image of a knife before he disappeared in China as a way to warn her he was in danger. His wife, Grace Meng, said she received a phone call from a man speaking Chinese who told her that a pair of "work teams" had been dispatched "just for you".

Four minutes before Meng sent the image, he had sent a message saying, "Wait for my call", according to the report. By September 2017, the Chinese government had over 3,000 active investigations being actioned through Interpol, with some 200 red notices-international arrest warrants-submitted by Chinese authorities. His election as president of Interpol symbolized how Chinese policing was becoming globally respected.

Presidents of Interpol are seconded from their national administrations and remain in their home post while representing the worldwide policing body.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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