Former Chinese Interpol chief ‘admits his crimes’ of accepting bribes

Interpol’s former president Meng Hongwei, who dramatically vanished into police custody after returning to China in 2018, has admitted to corruption charges in a court in Tianjin on Thursday.

Meng, who was also China’s vice minister of public security, was accused of accepting more than $2 million (14.46 million yuan) from businesses and individuals from 2005 to 2017, according to a statement released by Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

In Meng’s closing remarks, after arguments from both sides were heard, he “admitted his crimes and expressed repentance,” the statement said. The court’s verdict and Meng’s sentencing will be announced at a later date.

Meng disappeared after he left Interpol headquarters in France and took a flight back to China in late September 2018. His wife, Grace, said at the time that the last contact she received from him was a text message saying to wait for his call, followed minutes later by a knife emoji.

As his case drew rising global attention, the Chinese government acknowledged in October that Meng had been detained for alleged corruption.

“(Meng) insisted on taking the wrong path and had only himself to blame (for his downfall),” the country’s top law enforcement official, Zhao Kezhi, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Shortly after Beijing announced Meng’s arrest, Interpol said it had received and accepted his resignation with “immediate effect.”

Meng was the first Chinese official to lead the international policing body and his appointment three years ago in 2016 was greeted enthusiastically by the country’s state media. He retained the title of vice minister of public security while at Interpol.