The Interpol chief who went missing last week has resigned his post after it emerged he is being questioned by Chinese authorities, the international police agency said. 

The announcement came shortly after China confirmed it is holding Meng Hongwei, who has been missing for days, and his wife revealed he sent her an image of a knife before he disappeared as a sign that he was in danger.

"Today, Sunday 7 October, (at) the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect," Interpol said in a statement late on Sunday. It did not give a reason for the resignation. 

The agency said South Korean national Kim Jong Yang would becomes its acting president, while it would appoint a new president at a November 18-21 meeting of the organisation in Dubai.

Earlier, China’s new anti-corruption body said authorities were investigating Mr Meng, who is also a vice minister of public security in China, for suspected violations of the law.

The National Supervision Commission, which is also the ruling Communist party’s watchdog for political disloyalty, did not specify what the alleged violations were.

Meng Hongwei's wife Grace gave a press conference with her back to cameras, saying she feared for her safetyCredit:

Its statement was the first from China since Mr Meng’s disappearance was reported on Friday in France, where Interpol is based in the city of Lyon and where Mr Meng was living with his wife and children.

French prosecutors opened an investigation last week after his wife Grace went to local police to report him missing, saying she had not heard from him since he left for China in late September.

Mrs Meng, who has been placed under police protection after receiving threats, held a press conference in Lyon on Sunday and told reporters said she had not heard from her 64-year-old husband husband since September 25.

She said he sent her the knife image that day, four minutes after he sent a message that said: "Wait for my call."

But the call never came and she said she does not know what happened to her husband, who in recent months appears to have fallen out of favour with the ruling party in Beijing.

The last message sent by missing Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, to his wife, Grace MengCredit:

Mrs Meng urged national governments to intervene, saying she feared that her husband’s life was in danger.

She kept her back turned to the reporters at the press conference, and refused to be photographed out of fear for her safety.

"I have gone from sorrow and fear to the pursuit of truth, justice, and responsibility toward history," she said.

"For the husband whom I deeply love, for my young children, for the people of my motherland, for all the wives and children’s husbands and fathers to no longer disappear," she said.

It was about an hour later that China’s National Supervision Commission issued its statement confirming Mr Meng had been detained.

His wife first learned about the party statement from The Associated Press; she said she was struggling to believe what it said.

"This is political ruin and fall!" she wrote in a text message to the AP. "I can’t believe because the rule of law (in) China is his lifelong pursuit."

Several high ranking Chinese officials, wealthy businessmen and celebrities have disappeared without explanation since Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign after coming to power in 2012.

About 1.5 million government officials have been punished for wrongdoing in the crackdown, which critics say is an excuse for President Xi to target political enemies and punish disloyalty.

Mr Meng was elected to a four year term as president of Interpol in 2016.

He is the first Chinese national to hold the post and had been one of Beijing’s top law enforcement officials, overseeing the country’s coastguard and counter-terrorism efforts, as well as international police cooperation.

Mittie B Brack News

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