China says Interpol chief Meng Hongwei is under investigation

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INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France.

Making her first public comments on the mystery surrounding Meng Hongwei's whereabouts, Grace Meng told reporters in Lyon, France - where Interpol is based - that she thinks the knife was her husband's way of trying to tell her he was in danger.

French police had opened an investigation into Meng's disappearance last week, according to a source close to the inquiry.

Meng added that her husband in was in China for a work-related matter, and the image of the knife was an indication from him that something was amiss.

When asked about the Chinese announcement, France's Interior Ministry said it had no information.

Mrs. Meng was accompanied to the hotel where she held her press conference by two French police officers who were assigned to look after her.

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.

Meng's wife had suspected danger to her husband's life after she revealed that he sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared. She said he regularly traveled back and forth between Lyon and China for his job.

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Before taking over as Interpol's chief in 2016, he served as Vice Minister of Public Security in China and is the first Chinese official to head Interpol.

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. Some of them might have been pursued by Chinese authorities under Meng's watch.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been engaged in a crackdown on corruption.

He appointed Meng vice security minister in 2004.

Interpol had said on Friday it had asked Beijing to clarify Meng's situation.

Grace Meng wouldn't speculate Sunday on what might have happened.

Interpol has downplayed the concerns, saying the president has little influence over the organisation's day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Stock, a German.

China now has 44 outstanding red notices, mostly related to murder, intentional injury and drug smuggling, according to Interpol's web site.

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