China: Interpol chief arrested for bribery

Former Interpol head Meng Hongwei

The former Chinese head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei has been accused of accepting bribes becoming the latest top official to fall in President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption dragnet.

In one ominous sign, several posts on meetings and activities Meng participated in over recent years disappeared from the public security ministry's website Monday as an AFP reporter viewed them-effectively erasing him from the agency's history.

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.

China is "not aware of the situation" surrounding reports that the wife of the detained Chinese former president of Interpol has been threatened, a foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

"It shows that no one is above the law with no exceptions".

"Today, Sunday 7 October, the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr. Meng Hongwei as President of INTERPOL with immediate effect", the tweet said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday in Beijing. Meng is a vice-minister for public security in China.

With Meng's resignation, Interpol will be headed by South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, who will act as president until a new election can be held next month.

"I find it regrettable that the top leader of the organization had to go out this way and that we weren't specifically notified of what was happening in advance", Kim told the AP.

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At a regular news briefing on Monday, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, said that China's commitment to worldwide police cooperation would not be dented by Mr. Meng's fall.

The revelation that Chinese authorities would be bold enough to forcibly make even a senior public security official with global stature disappear has cast a shadow over the image Beijing has sought to cultivate as a modern country with the rule of law.

"This has shown the Chinese government's firm resolve to crack down on corruption and crime", Lu said. He pointed out that "this case fully demonstrates that the party is firm in fighting corruption and anybody will be seriously punished in accordance with law if they violate the law".

However, Lu did not directly answer questions about whether Meng would be formally arrested or allowed to hire a lawyer, or receive a visit from his wife. "For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children's husbands and fathers to no longer disappear".

Asked if Meng's sudden disappearance and investigation will affect the ability of Chinese officials to take top posts in worldwide agencies, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: "This (investigation) has shown Chinese government's firm resolve to crack down on corruption and crimes and it is also been made very clear that this case fully demonstrates that the party is firm in fighting corruption and anybody will be punished in accordance with law seriously if they violate the law".

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

It seems, from a Western perspective, that Chinese officials must have feared something significant to have taken an action that has not only jeopardised Meng's successes at Interpol but also further tarnished China's global reputation.

The disappearance an interesting history of the former chinese boss of Interpol, who was prosecuted for corruption in his country, has dealt a blow to the image of Beijing and its ambition to consolidate its presence in the worldwide organizations, according to experts.

Officials at the meeting were told that they "must always maintain the political quality of being absolutely loyal to the party", the statement said.

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