Interpol president resigns amid Beijing probe

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Interpol announced Sunday that it had accepted the resignation of its president, Meng Hongwei, who disappeared in China in late September.

A statement released by Interpol on Sunday said that Meng had resigned with immediate effect.

A statement from Interpol confirmed that as per the agency's constitution and internal regulations, the Senior Vice-President of Interpol's Executive Committee, Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, will be instated as the acting president.

Meng's case follows another major disappearance in China of actress Fan Bingbing, who was out of the public eye for months until it was revealed last week that she had been under investigation by tax authorities.

Meng had lived with his wife and two children in Lyon since being elected Interpol president in 2016.

President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France on May 8, 2018.

"This matter belongs to the worldwide community", Meng told a press conference in English.

The mystery of what happened to Mr Meng has now been cleared up: but the details of the charges weighing against him, and the fate that awaits him are as opaque as ever, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.

China announced last night that the president of Interpol, who is one of its citizens and who vanished while on a trip home last month, had been arrested by its anti-corruption agency.

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On Saturday, quoting a source, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post had reported that Meng, the first Chinese head of the worldwide law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" in the last week of September.

The reports quoted an unnamed French judicial official as saying that Meng arrived in China at the end of September but there had been no news of him since.

Interpol said earlier over the weekend that it had asked Beijing to clarify Mr Meng's situation.

In Lyon, Grace Meng spoke to the news media just before Beijing issued its statement, pleading with national governments to intervene, saying she feared that her husband's life was in danger, Agence France-Presse reported.

"Any global organisation should think twice going forward before considering a Chinese candidate to be its head", Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia adviser at Washington's Center for Strategic and worldwide Studies, told AFP.

It's unclear what French police will now do with their investigation into Meng's "disappearance". "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". Some of them might have been pursued by Chinese authorities under Meng's watch as vice minister for public security.

She said the call never came and she does not know what happened to him.

China has been cracking down on corruption under President Xi Jinping.

At the time, Amnesty International called Meng's appointment "at odds with Interpol's mandate to work in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".