China has accused Meng Hongwei, the missing president of Interpol, of bribery following a bizarre series of events that experts say tarnish Beijing’s image as a rising power and responsible member of international organizations, reports the Guardian.
In a terse statement Sunday, Chinese authorities admitted they were holding Meng. And on Monday, China’s ministry of public security said the Interpol chief, who was reported missing in France over the weekend, was being investigated for accepting bribes.
“The inspection and investigation of Meng Hongwei … is very timely, totally right, and very wise,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. Claiming Meng, who is Chinese, “only had himself to blame,” the ministry added, “There is no exception in front of the law. Anyone will be strictly investigated and punished.”
French police have been investigating Meng’s disappearance during a visit to China, which was first reported by his wife, Grace, on Friday. In an emotional appeal on Sunday, she told journalists she had not heard from her husband since Sept. 25 when he sent her a WhatsApp message that said, “Wait for my call.”
Four minutes later, the message was followed by an emoji of a knife, she said. Then late Sunday China’s new anti-corruption body, the national supervision commission, said he was being detained and investigated for suspected “violations of the law.” Also on Sunday, Interpol released a statement saying Meng had resigned “with immediate effect.”
Meng, president of the global law enforcement organization since 2016, usually lives in Lyon, where Interpol is based, with his family. A Tweet from the Interpol secretariat said the senior vice president of Interpol’s executive committee, Kim Jon Yang of South Korea, has been named acting president.
The case has raised speculation of a renewed political struggle within the Chinese Communist party. The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has overseen a broad corruption crackdown that many see as a political purge.