13 years' prison for fallen Interpol chief

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 22 Jan 2020

Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, detained in China in 2018, was sentenced yesterday to 13 1/2 years in prison for bribery.

Meng, a former vice minister of public security, is among a growing group of Chinese Communist Party cadres snared in Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign, which critics say has also served as a way to remove the president's political enemies.

He vanished during a home visit to China from Paris, where the international police agency is based, and was later accused of accepting bribes.

His wife was granted political asylum in France last year after saying she was afraid she and her two children would be kidnap targets.

Besides being imprisoned, Meng, 66, was fined 2 million yuan (HK$2.25 million) in the Tianjin First Intermediate People's Court.

At his trial last June, Meng pleaded guilty to accepting US$2.1 million (HK$17.5 million) in bribes. The court heard he used his status to "seek improper benefit," illegally acquire property and accumulate bribes.

But Meng "confessed to all the criminal facts" and will not appeal, the court said yesterday.

Meng's case was linked to a broader aim to "completely remove the pernicious influence" of Zhou Yongkang, a former security minister sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

Meng, made vice security minister by Zhou in 2004, was the first Chinese president at Interpol.

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