Fallen Interpol chief admits taking bribes

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 21 Jun 2019

Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei pleaded guilty at a trial yesterday to accepting bribes totaling around 14.4 million yuan (HK$16.4 million) - a remarkable fall from grace for China's former vice minister of public security.

The Tianjin No 1 Intermediate Court said Meng "showed repentance" during a hearing that was the culmination of a case that shook the international police organization and put a spotlight on China's opaque judicial system.

The court did not indicate when the sentence will be announced.

Meng, who disappeared last year, sat between two police officers in the courtroom. His hair had grayed and he looked gaunt compared to his state in 2017.

Meng is high among more than a million cadres who have been snared in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaigns.

He vanished last September during a visit to China from France, where Interpol is based. The next news about him was that he was accused of accepting bribes and had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party.

The court said that between 2005 and 2017 Meng used his status and positions as a vice minister of public security and Marine Police chief to collect bribes.

And during Meng's tenure the Public Security Bureau arrested and interrogated a number of prominent Chinese dissidents, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was imprisoned and died of liver cancer in custody in 2017.

At Interpol, Meng had been expected to serve a four-year term until 2020.

His election in 2016 had raised concerns among rights groups, who feared Beijing would use the organization to round up Chinese dissidents overseas.

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