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Wife of missing Interpol boss gets cryptic text

Interpol says it has received the resignation of its president, deepening the mystery of the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, a Chinese government official who has been missing since last week. His wife says her last contact with him came via a WhatsApp text message with a knife emoji and the instructions, "Wait for my call."

Posted: Oct 8, 2018 2:28 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2018 2:29 PM

The head of Interpol, who vanished after taking a flight to Beijing, is being held and investigated for corruption, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Monday.

Meng Hongwei, who was also a vice minister of public security in China, has been accused by the Chinese government of accepting bribes and committing unspecified other crimes.

"(Meng) insisted on taking the wrong path and had only himself to blame (for his downfall)," the country's top law enforcement official, Zhao Kezhi, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Chinese authorities had previously remained tight-lipped about the whereabouts of Meng, following his sudden disappearance last month after he flew from France to China.

In an earlier statement released on Sunday, the Chinese government said Meng was "under investigation" by the National Supervisory Commission, the country's top anti-corruption unit, but gave no further details on whether he was in custody or what the charges might be.

Concerns over Meng's whereabouts were first raised by wife, Grace, who reported him missing to French authorities in the city of Lyon, where the couple live, last Thursday.

She was moved to contact authorities after she received a final text message on September 25, shortly after he arrived in China, with a knife emoji and instructions to "wait for my call."

That call never came.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper known for its connections inside the Chinese government, said Meng was "taken away" for questioning upon landing in China last week. The newspaper cited an unnamed source.

In a separate development, Interpol said it had received Meng's resignation from the international police agency with "immediate effect" according to statement posted Sunday. It made no mention of the former president's whereabouts or the Chinese investigation.

Loyalty to Xi

Meng is the latest high profile figure to be taken into custody following the wide-ranging campaign against corruption undertaken since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

The Chinese president promised it would catch both "tigers and flies" -- the powerful as well as regular citizens -- and has brought down high level officials such as former security tzar Zhou Yongkang.

In the statement on Monday, Chinese authorities alluded to ties between Zhou and Meng, who rose through the government's security apparatus under Zhou.

The statement said Meng's fall highlighted Xi's resolve in cleaning up the ruling Communist Party and stressed the importance of political loyalty to the Party's leadership under Xi.

The admission by Chinese authorities comes just one week after another prominent Chinese figure on the world stage appeared to vanish after falling foul of Beijing.

One of China's best-known actresses, Fan Bingbing, reappeared following a lengthy disappearance in the past week, admitting to tax evasion and promising to pay a large fine.

"That China feels so emboldened to disappear even one of its most famous actresses ... should be a real wake up call that anyone within China could be next," human rights advocate Michael Caster wrote for CNN in September.

Mystery disappearance

Speculation as to the whereabouts of Meng has dominated international headlines, in the face of an initial stony silence from the Chinese government.

Meng has lived in Lyon, where Interpol is headquartered, since assuming the role of president in 2016.

In an emotional press conference Sunday, Grace Meng told reporters that concern for her husband is a matter that "belongs to the international community." She added, "Although I can't see my husband, we are always connected by heart."

Grace, who waited ten days before reporting her husband's disappearance to French authorities, told police in Lyon that she has received threats on social media and by telephone.

In a statement Friday, the French Interior Ministry confirmed that it was looking into the situation and that a "suitable police mechanism" had been put in place to guarantee Grace Meng's safety.

Following the Chinese official's apparent resignation, Interpol announced South Korea's Kim Jong Yang would serve as acting president until the organization's general assembly picks a permanent president next month.

When Meng was chosen as the next President of Interpol in 2016 it was warmly welcomed by Beijing, who said China was ready to "take on bigger responsibility and make greater contribution to push for global law enforcement."

Meng was the first Chinese Interpol President and oversaw the agency's executive committee, which sets overall strategy.

However, there were concerns after the announcement was made that having a top Interpol official with a position in the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party could turn the body towards Beijing's aims.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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