Missing Interpol president sent wife image of knife before his disappearance

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon France

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon France

Meng is China's vice minister of public security as well as president of the International Criminal Police Organization, best known as Interpol. The update came after Beijing announced Meng Hongwei was under investigation in China.

A statement released by Interpol on Sunday said that Meng has resigned with immediate effect. It did not say why.

His wife's plea underscored how China's system of shady and often-arbitrary detentions can ensnare even a senior public security official with worldwide standing, leaving loved ones uninformed and in a panic.

However, a watchdog for China's ruling Communist Party said in a brief statement on its website that Meng was "suspected of violating the law and is now under the monitoring and investigation" of China's new anti-corruption body, the National Supervision Commission.

Under its terms it had appointed senior vice-president Kim Jong-yang of South Korea as acting president.

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Earlier on Sunday, China officially confirmed that the Chinese head of the Interpol is being investigated for suspected breach of law.

Meng's wife told reporters in the French city of Lyon on Sunday she hasn't heard from her husband since September 25. It was not until almost midnight on Sunday that China finally provided an explanation, releasing a one-sentence statement which said that Meng was under the "monitoring and investigation" of anti-corruption party investigators. At a press conference on Sunday, she said that the last text message she had received from him was the image of a knife, which she took as a sign that he was in danger. The message from Meng at 12:26 on September 26 says "wait for my call".

She said: "As long as I can't see my husband in front of me, speaking to me, I can't have any confidence".

Grace Meng lives in Lyon, France, the headquarters of Interpol.

"His job is very busy", she said.

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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. The announcement was made by China's National Supervisory Commission, after a weekend of silence on the matter by the Beijing regime.

It was unclear how Meng could have fallen foul of the Chinese authorities.

After China admitted it had Meng in custody, the paper quoted Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan, who said: "I guess something urgent must have happened".

Meng's vanishing act bears hallmarks of what happens to senior officials when they are suspected of violating party rules, usually alleged corruption.

She gave a statement about her husband's disappearance at a hotel in Lyon, while keeping her back to the camera's to hide her face as a safety precaution, The New York Times reported.

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

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