Head of Interpol who vanished in China resigns

Meng Hongwei resigns as head of Interpol after China announces he was under investigation for criminal activity.

Tags: China Interpol
Ben Ariel ,

Meng Hongwei
Meng Hongwei

China announced on Sunday that the Chinese head of Interpol, who vanished after returning to his homeland, was under investigation for possible criminal activity.

Following the announcement, the world police organization announced that Meng Hongwei had resigned, reported AFP.

The revelations came as Meng Hongwei's wife voiced concern for his life after receiving a final text message from his phone with a knife emoji.

Beijing had remained tight-lipped about the fate of Meng, who is also China's vice minister for public security, since his disappearance was disclosed by French officials on Friday.

The National Supervisory Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, broke the official silence on Sunday night, saying in a one-line statement that Meng "is currently under investigation on suspicion of violating the law".

Soon after, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation "with immediate effect", and that the body will elect a new president at its general assembly next month, according to AFP.

Meng's term has been scheduled to run until 2020.

Meng, the first Chinese president of Interpol, was last heard from on September 25 as he left Lyon, where the world police body is based, for China.

The agency's secretary general Juergen Stock, who oversees day-to-day operations, had said Saturday that it was seeking "clarification" on his whereabouts from Chinese authorities.

French police had opened an investigation into Meng's disappearance last week, said a source close to the inquiry.

Meng, 64, had lived with his wife and two children in France since being elected Interpol president in 2016.

His wife, upon learning about the announcement from China's anti-graft commission, told AFP that her husband's case will be under the watch of "international law and international public opinion", describing the situation as "political ruin".

China's recently established National Supervisory Commission holds sweeping powers to investigate the country's public servants with few requirements for transparency.