Jan 22, 2020 03:58 AM

China’s Ex-Interpol Chief Sentenced to 13½ Years for Corruption

Meng Hongwei (middle) in court as verdict is handed out. Photo: Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate Court
Meng Hongwei (middle) in court as verdict is handed out. Photo: Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate Court

A Chinese court Tuesday sentenced former Interpol President Meng Hongwei to 13½ years in prison on corruption charges including taking 14.46 million yuan ($2 million) in bribes.

Meng, who was placed under investigation in October 2018, was also fined 2 million yuan by the court. He pleaded guilty and said he won’t appeal.

Meng, 66, who also served as a vice public security minister and the director of the China Coast Guard, is one of the highest-ranking officials to fall in China’s sweeping campaign to clean up corruption in government and at state-owned enterprises.

According to the verdict by the Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, Meng used his power during his tenure in the Ministry of Public Security and China Coast Guard between 2005 and 2017 to seek personal gain and accepted payoffs in exchange for business and promotion favors. The Tianjin court heard Meng’s case in June 2019.

Meng spent more than 40 years in China’s public security system. He was named vice minister of public security in 2004 and took the concurrent posts of deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration and director of the China Coast Guard in 2016.

In November 2016, Meng was appointed president of Interpol and was scheduled to serve until 2020. Interpol coordinates governments of member countries in searching for missing people and fugitives.

Meng made international headlines in early October 2018 when he reportedly went missing after a return trip to China from Lyon, France, where Interpol is based. Days later, Chinese authorities confirmed an investigation of him.

In March 2019, Meng was expelled from the Communist Party and public positions on corruption allegations. China’s top graft buster issued a strongly worded statement accusing him of seriously violating party discipline, disobeying party mandates, taking bribes, squandering national assets, and abusing his power to benefit people including his wife.

Meng’s wife, Gao Ge, also known as Grace Meng, was removed from the top political advisory body in Shandong province in January 2019. Public records showed that Gao was elected a member of the Shandong Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 2013 and 2018.

Sources close to the matter told Caixin that Gao in 2011 was appointed deputy chief of the China National Democratic Construction Association’s committee in Qingdao, Shandong province, with “backing from the provincial government.” The National Democratic Construction Association is one of the eight legally recognized political parties in China.

In addition to political titles, Gao, with a doctorate in economics from Peking University, is also a former independent director of Bank of Beijing Co. Ltd., a former vice president of Shandong-based trading company Hiking Group Co. and a current board member of state-owned Shandong Luxin Investment Holdings Group Co., business registration records show.

She held senior management positions in other companies including China Taiping Insurance Group, Yinhua Fund Management Co. and Hi Sun Technology (China) Ltd. Gao’s whereabouts are unclear.

Contact reporter Han Wei ( and editor Bob Simison (

You've accessed an article available only to subscribers
Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code