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Missing Interpol president faces bribery probe, China says

Image: Meng Hongwei, Chinese President of Interpol, speaking in Bali, Indon
Meng Hongwei pictured in Bali, Indonesia. Copyright INTERPOL
Copyright INTERPOL
By Dawn Liu and Alastair Jamieson and Associated Press and Reuters with NBC News World News
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Meng disappeared Sept. 25 after texting his wife a knife emoji during a trip to China.


BEIJING — China said Monday it was investigating missing Interpol president Meng Hongwei for "accepting bribes" and other violations.

The country's Ministry of Public Security said Meng, who disappeared last month, was being investigated for "willfulness and for bringing trouble upon himself."

In a statement on its website, it said there would be "no privilege and no exception before the law" among high-ranking officials accused of corruption.

The last messages sent by Meng Hongwei to his wife.
The last messages sent by Meng Hongwei to his wife.John Leicester

It made no mention of Meng's whereabouts or his condition.

Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, said late Sunday it had received the 64-year-old's resignation but the circumstances of his departure remained a mystery.

Grace Meng hasn't heard from her husband since Sept. 25, when he texted her a knife emoji during a visit to China. Four minutes later, he wrote "wait for my call" but the call never came.

"From now on, I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice and responsibility toward history," she told reporters in Lyon on Sunday. "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."

She kept her back to the cameras, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her two children.

Meng, who is also China's vice minister of public security, became president of the global police cooperation agency in late 2016 amid a broader effort by Beijing to secure leadership posts in international organizations.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a sweeping crackdown on official corruption.

Monday's statement provided no details about the bribes Meng allegedly took, but it made reference to the "poisonous influence" of ex-Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

Dawn Liu reported from Beijing; Alastair Jamieson from London.

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