INTERPOL says its president who was reported missing after returning to his native China has resigned amid a probe in Beijing.
French police launched an investigation into the disappearance of Interpol‘s president Meng Hongwei after he was reported missing after travelling to China on September 29.
Mr Hongwei, who lives in Lyon with his wife and children, is also China’s deputy minister of public security.
Beijing had remained tight-lipped about Meng’s fate since his disappearance was disclosed by French officials on Friday.
But on Sunday, Chinese authorities confirmed Meng, who is also China’s vice minister for public security, is being investigated over suspected violations of the law.
Hours later, Interpol confirmed Meng had resigned as president of the international police organisation.
“Today, Sunday 7 October, (at) the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect,” Interpol said in a statement.
Interpol said South Korean national Kim Jong Yang would becomes its acting president, while it would appoint a new president at a November meeting of the organisation in Dubai.
Earlier on Sunday Grace Meng revealed she has not heard from her husband since September 25.
She claimed her husband sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared during a trip to their native China.
Making her first public comments on the mystery surrounding Mr Hongwei’s whereabouts, Grace told reporters in Lyon, France, she thought the knife was her husband’s way of telling her he was in danger.
She added she had no further contact with him since that message, sent on 25 September, and did not know what happened to him.
She also said four minutes before Meng shared that image, he had sent a message saying, “wait for my call.”
Grace also said he had traveled to China for work, after a visit to the Nordic countries.
“His job is very busy,” she added.
“We connected every day.”
Meng is a senior Chinese security official as well as president of the International Criminal Police Organization.
The Lyon-based international police agency said it had used law enforcement channels to inquire with China about Meng’s status.
Grace wouldn’t speculate about what might have happened to her husband.
Asked if she believed that he had been arrested, she said: “In China, what happened, I’m not sure.”
During the press conference in Lyon she read a statement, but would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her two children.
Mr Meng previously served as head of the country’s counter-terrorism office, drugs control commission, and coast guard.
His term as Interpol’s chief is due to run until 2020.
Interpol is the International Criminal Police Organisation, driving international police co-operation.
It’s main function is to provide a mechanism for police forces in different countries to notify each other of wanted suspects.
French police have described the matter as a “worrying disappearance”.
“We are investigating him”
Meng has held several senior positions in China including vice minister of public security.
He has almost 40 years’ experience in criminal justice and policing.
And he has also overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism, according to Interpol’s website.
Last year, Meng gave a speech on the importance of cracking down on cyber crime which observers said might reflect China’s views on the issue.