China’s former Interpol chief sentenced to 13 years in prison

BEIJING (AFP) – Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who was detained on a visit to China in 2018, was sentenced yesterday to more than 13 years in prison for bribery in a case that shook the international police organisation.

Meng – a former vice minister of public security – is among a growing group of Communist Party cadres caught in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign.

He vanished during a visit to China from France, where Interpol is based, and was later accused of accepting bribes and expelled from the Communist Party.

His wife was granted political asylum in France last year, after saying she was afraid she and her two children would be the targets of kidnapping attempts.

The 66-year-old was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison and fined USD290,000, said the Tianjin First Intermediate People’s Court yesterday.

At his trial last June, Meng pleaded guilty to accepting USD2.1 million in bribes, after the court said he used his status and positions to “seek improper benefit”, illegally acquire property and accumulate bribes.

The court statement yesterday said that some of the “stolen money and stolen goods could not be recovered”.

Pictures from the court showed a grim-faced Meng standing in front of a judge, flanked by two police officers.

Meng had “truthfully confessed to all the criminal facts” and would not appeal the decision, the court said.