Reported missing president of Interpol resigns after China reveals criminal investigation

Interpol president, Meng Hongwei has gone missing in China (Wong Maye/AP) Credit: AP/Press Association Images

The president of Interpol, who had been reported missing, has resigned after it was revealed he is under investigation in China, the international police agency said.

Interpol said Sunday night that Meng Hongwei had resigned as president of the agency's executive committee but did not say why.

It added that the senior vice president of its executive committee, Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, would become acting president.

It came after a statement from China's ruling Communist Party revealed Meng is "under the monitoring and investigation" of China's new anti-corruption body, the National Supervision Commission.

The statement followed a statement from Meng's wife, Grace Meng, who told reporters how her husband 'singalled he was in danger' by sending her an image of a knife.

She says she has had no further contact with him since he sent the message on September 25, and added that four minutes before Meng shared the image, he sent a message saying, "wait for my call".

Ms Meng said her husband had traveled back to China for work, after a visit to the Nordics, saying: "His job is very busy...we connected every day."

Meng is a senior Chinese security official as well as president of the International Criminal Police Organization.

The Lyon-based international police agency said Saturday it has used law enforcement channels to inquire with China about Meng's status.

Grace Meng wouldn't speculate Sunday on what might have happened to him and when asked if she believed that he has been arrested, she said: "In China, what happened, I'm not sure."

She read a statement during her press conference in Lyon, but would not allow reporters to show her face, saying she feared for her own safety and the safety of her two children.

Prince Charles met Meng Hongwei and other officials during a visit to the Interpol general secretariat headquarters in Lyon. Credit: ITV News

Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, assists police in its 192 member countries to work together on matters of international crime.

Their main areas of policing expertise are counter-terrorism, cyber crime and organised and emerging crime.

Mr Meng's duties in China would have put him in close proximity to many former leaders, some of whom had come into difficulty with President Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption.

President Xi has also placed a premium on obtaining the return of officials accused of fraud and corruption from abroad.

Rights groups voiced concerns around the time of Mr Meng's election as Interpol president in 2016 that the chief would pursue a politicised agenda that might target Xi's opponents.