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article imageWife of missing Interpol chief fears he is in 'danger'

By AFP     Oct 7, 2018 in World

The wife of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese Interpol president who has gone missing, on Sunday 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, Grace Meng said the last social media message she received from her husband came on September 25, depicting a single emoji that means "I'm in danger."

"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 fears for her safety.

Meng, the first Chinese president of Interpol, was last heard from on September 25 as he left Lyon for China.

That day, his wife said Sunday, he sent a social media message telling her to "wait for my call", before sending the emoji signifying danger, Meng said.

"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.

A journalist holds the mobile phone of Grace  the wife of the missing Interpol president Meng Hongwe...
A journalist holds the mobile phone of Grace, the wife of the missing Interpol president Meng Hongwey, showing wath she says is the last message exchanged with her husband, during a press conference on October 7, 2018 in Lyon
JEFF PACHOUD, AFP

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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