Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei resigns after missing in China

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Meng Hongwei in 2017.
Image: Web Summit.

This Sunday, after disappearing for two weeks, former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei was announced to be under investigation in China by the National Supervisory Commission for corruption and bribes allegations. A few hours later, Interpol said it had received Mr. Meng’s resignation “with immediate effect.”

His family had not heard from him since he left Interpol HQ in the French city of Lyon on 25 September with only a picture of a knife being sent that day (indicating possible danger) on WhatsApp. But after receiving a threatening phone call a week after on the 2 October, the latter alerted authorities on the 4 October with Interpol raising an inquiry to understand his whereabouts on 6 October. The family is now under police protection in France for fear of other threats.

However in response on Thursday 11 October, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang says he is not aware of reports relating to the threatening phone call, but did add that as she is the wife of Meng Hongwei who is under investigation, it would be "natural" for her to be contacted.

After being elected President of Interpol in November 2016, analysts thought his election would allow China to project their image abroad more positively even though the position is mainly ceremonial. He has around 40 years of policing experience in China, with issues relating to drug control, border control and and also counter terrorism.

This latest case of corruption comes right after Fan Bingbing, who disappeared for 3 months. Only to reappear during the National Week holiday in China with a heavy hitting fine of 883m yuan or $129m relating to tax evasion by reporting different documents on her earnings for her films.

The anti-corruption campaign under Xi Jinping has been ongoing since he came to power in 2012, with both high profile cases and minor officials being arrested and jailed for various corruption charges.