China's anti-corruption watchdog claims that it has investigated Meng Hongwei, head of global law enforcement agency Interpol, for alleged violations of the law.
- The Chinese authorities say Mr. Meng is "under investigation"
- Mr. Meng's wife says she has not heard from him since September 25th
- Interpol says it has made a formal request for more information
Mr. Meng, 64, who is also Deputy Minister of Public Security in China, was reported missing after traveling to China from where Interpol is based.
"Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Security, Meng Hongwei, is being investigated by the National Board of Supervisors for alleged violations of the law," the Chinese anti-corruption body said in a brief statement on its website.
The statement did not contain any information about the nature of the alleged infringements and was the first in China since the disappearance of Mr Meng on Friday in France.
When the French Ministry of the Interior was asked about the Chinese announcement, it said it had no information.
Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon, said it had made a formal request to China to obtain information on Mr Meng.
Woman shows last text message from Mr. Meng
Mr. Meng's wife Grace, who stays in France, was put under police protection for threats.
She told reporters in Lyon that she had not heard from her husband since 25 September. Ms. Meng said that he used his Interpol phone to send her an emoji picture of a knife, four minutes after sending a message with the text "Waiting for my call." "
She said the call never came and she does not know what happened to him.
From the knife image, she said, "I think he means he's in danger."
She said that he was in China when he sent the picture.
"This is the last message from my husband," she said. "After that, I have no call and he has disappeared."
Ms. Meng described the latest news she shared with reporters with her husband as part of a passionate plea to bring her missing husband to safety.
"I've gone from grief and fear to striving for truth, justice and responsibility to history," she said in a trembling voice.
"For the man I deeply love, for my little children, for the people of my country, for all women and children, so that their husbands and fathers do not disappear."
Ms. Meng did not allow reporters to show her face, saying she was worried about her own safety and the safety of her children.
She was escorted to the hotel where she had her press conference held by two French policemen charged with looking after her.
Before her husband shared the knife image, she sent him a photograph of two animal figures, one bear and another, representing their two children.
One of them loves horses, she said, and the other "looks like the bear".
She said that they had been in daily contact during his trip before he was missing in China.
In his role as Chief Public Security Officer in China, Mr. Meng regularly traveled between Beijing and Lyon, France, where Interpol is based.
He was on a three-country tour to Norway, Sweden and Serbia, for Interpol before his last trip back to China, Ms. Meng said.
Mr. Meng resigns as Interpol President
Chinese President Xi Jinping has monitored a crackdown on civil society. (Reuters: Sergei Bobylyov / TASS host photo agency / pool)
The announcement that Mr. Meng was investigated makes him the last high-ranking official to fall victim to a comprehensive crackdown by the ruling Communist Party.
The one-sentence announcement, which was issued in China at nearly midnight, said only that Mr. Meng was in custody.
Soon after the statement was published, Interpol announced that Mr. Meng had resigned as president with immediate effect.
It was not explained why, or give details about the whereabouts or condition of Mr. Meng.
The unexplained disappearance of Mr. Meng threatens to pollute Beijing's image as a rising Asian power.
President Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has overseen crackdown on civil society, which aims to stop dissent and activism among lawyers and lawyers.
He has also used a popular and far-reaching anti-corruption campaign to spur surveillance of the party and a powerful weapon to cleanse his political opponents.
Mr. Meng's various jobs brought him into close contact with Chinese leaders in the security sector, a sector long equated with corruption, opacity and human rights abuses.
Mr. Meng, a member of the Communist Party, worked with the Politburo's former Security Chief and Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.
However, Ms. Meng tried to distance her husband from Mr. Zhou and said the two men could not get along.
She said that Mr. Zhou tried several times to get her husband out of the Public Security Department – the National Police – and "very" rejected her husband.
She did not explain what kind of relationship this hostility could have with her husband's case.
Reuters / AP
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