APNewsBreak: Wife of ex-Interpol boss describes threats

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APNewsBreak: Wife of ex-Interpol boss describes threats

"Many don't have a chance to speak up even if they want to: spouses of officials under investigation, if they're in China, would likely be placed under 24-hour surveillance, [Chinese political expert Willy] Lam said". If the Chinese government's statement is correct then Mr Meng, also a vice-minister for public security in China, will be the latest high-profile target to be ensnared in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

The Chinese vice public security minister's abrupt disappearance late last month caught Interpol off-guard, an embarrassing situation for an organisation whose mission is global police cooperation.

China has confirmed it is holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei. In a Sunday statement on Twitter, Interpol said that it had received Mr. Meng's resignation with immediate effect. And he had a hand in Chinese police operations that reached overseas, including Operation Fox Hunt, which sought to repatriate hundreds of former Chinese officials and businesspeople who had fled overseas and were suspected of corruption.

Monday's statement on the ministry of public security's website provided no details about the bribes Meng allegedly took or other crimes he is accused of, but suggested that he was also in trouble for political lapses.

Mr Meng disappeared on a trip to China last month and Beijing informed Interpol, which is based in France, of his "resignation". Meng's leadership also provided a mechanism to legitimise China's worldwide efforts to silence critics among its diaspora.

The acting president of Interpol, Kim Jong Yang, said it had not been told about the investigation of its chief.

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

Now, Mr. Meng has fallen afoul of the opaque, highly politicized legal system that critics said should have disqualified him from appointment to Interpol in the first place.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday that China would continue to act as a "responsible power" that will "play its necessary role in worldwide affairs and multilateral organisations".

The probe "fully shows there is no privilege and no exception in front of the law, and anyone who violates the law must be severely punished", the ministry added.

That was an ominous follow-up to an earlier message, which had asked her to wait for Meng to call.

The French Interior Ministry said through a spokesman it has no information to share about the text message Grace had received from her husband.

"From now on, I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice and responsibility toward history", she said at a briefing. "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".

After days of silence, the Chinese government acknowledged Sunday that it had detained missing Interpol President Meng Hongwei over accusations of bribery and other crimes.

It indicated that Meng, a member of the Communist Party, may have somehow been tainted by former security chief and ex-Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

"We should resolutely oppose corruption and resolutely eliminate the pernicious influence of Zhou Yongkang", it stated, indicating that party disloyalty questions may be involved.

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 worldwide reputation.

Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday, "Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China's authorities on the status of Interpol President Meng Hongwei".

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