Lyon: The wife of missing Chinese Interpol president Meng Hongwei has said she received a message from his phone containing an image of a knife before his disappearance. Grace Meng urged national governments to intervene, saying she feared that her husband’s life was in danger.
Speaking in Lyon, the southeast French city where the international police organisation is based, she said the last social media message she received from her husband came on September 25, depicting a single knife emoji. “This matter belongs to the international community,” Meng told a press conference in English.
She kept her back turned to the reporters present, and refused to be photographed out of fear for her safety.
Meng Hongwei, the first Chinese president of Interpol, was last heard from on September 25 as he left Lyon for China.
That day, his wife said he sent a social media message telling her to “wait for my call”, before sending the emoji signifying danger. “I’m not sure what has happened to him,” she said. Meng had lived with his wife and two children in Lyon since being elected Interpol president in 2016.
The agency’s secretary general Juergen Stock, who oversees day-to-day operations, said Saturday that it was seeking “clarification” on his whereabouts from Chinese authorities. Beijing has so far declined to address Meng’s disappearance.
It is the latest high-profile disappearance in China, where a number of top government officials, billionaire business magnates and even an A-list celebrity have vanished for weeks or months at a time. Speculation has mounted that Meng, who also serves as a vice minister of China’s public security ministry, may have been swept up in a broad anti-corruption campaign led by President Xi Jinping.
The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials abroad, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities.
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