China says ex-Chinese Interpol chief took bribe, under probe (Lead)
Beijing : China's top security official, who headed the Interpol until last week and went missing after he left France for China, is being probed for taking bribes, Beijing said on Monday.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the international community was free to make its own conclusion on the high-profile case, but the probe against Meng showed China's resolve to crack down on graft.
Meng, the Vice Minister in the powerful Pubic Security Ministry, was elected as the first Chinese Interpol chief in November 2016.
"The investigation against Meng Hongwei taking bribes and suspected violations of law is very timely, absolutely correct and rather wise," the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
Meng's disappearance made news last week after his wife in Lyon - Interpol's headquarters in France - reported him missing for several days after he left for China.
Interpol, which made a formal request to Chinese authorities to give information about his whereabouts, announced Meng's resignation on Sunday.
Asked if Meng's sudden disappearance and investigation will affect the ability of Chinese officials to take top posts in international agencies, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: "This (investigation) has shown Chinese government's firm resolve to crack down on corruption and crimes and it is also been made very clear that this case fully demonstrates that the party is firm in fighting corruption and anybody will be punished in accordance with law seriously if they violate the law."
Asked further if China will propose another candidate for the presidency of Interpol, Lu said the agency will make arrangement according to its own rules.
Lu said China will continue to cooperate with the Interpol in its fight against crimes.
It was not clear if the alleged crime by Meng was committed during his chairmanship of the Interpol.
Meng is being investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the watchdog of the Communist Party.
Meng is the latest "tiger" to fall in the anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Rising politicians, PLA generals and top-notch government officials have been jailed for corruption.
Critics say that Xi is eliminating his opponents through this campaign.
Last week, China's superstar Fang Bingbing was asked to cough up $130 million for evading taxes.
She had gone missing earlier only to resurface later to confess her wrongdoing and sing praises of the Communist Party.