Monday, October 8, 2018 6:00:00 AM
China Investigating Interpol Chief

China says it is probing the head of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, who recently arrived in the country, but had been reported missing by Western media outlets.

China’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Supervisory Commission, announced the decision on Monday concerning Meng Hongwei, who is also China’s vice minister for public security, AFP reported.

The investigation is underway “on suspicion of [Meng]’s violating the law," the watchdog said.

Political ruin

After learning about the announcement, his wife described the situation as "political ruin."

Meng left Lyon, France, where Interpol is headquartered, on September 25, prompting a media fanfare suggesting his suspected disappearance. The reports also alleged that his wife had received a text message from his mobile displaying a “knife” emoji.

Soon after the watchdog’s announcement, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation "with immediate effect," and that the body would elect a new president at its general assembly next month.

The 64-year-old has lived with his wife and two children in France since being elected Interpol president in 2016.

His appointment to the head of the world police was hailed at the time as a vehicle for Beijing to boost its domestic anti-graft fight, a centerpiece of President Xi Jinping’s widespread crackdown on corruption, including among fugitive officials.

Critics of Meng's 2016 election to Interpol's presidency had said that he would use his position to favor China. Interpol had downplayed the concerns, saying the president had little influence over the organization's day-to-day operations, which are handled by Secretary-General Juergen Stock, a German.

Interpol acts as a network linking the law enforcement agencies of its members, but it does not possess agents of its own with powers of arrest.

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