Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Friday, October 30, 2020. The lengthy extradition process resumes today for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou as her lawyers fight against her removal from Canada to the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Friday, October 30, 2020. The lengthy extradition process resumes today for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou as her lawyers fight against her removal from Canada to the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Wikipedia was source of security concern questions for Meng: Border officer

Meng’s team will argue that Canadian officials gathered evidence under pretence of routine immigration exam

A border officer who examined Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport before her arrest says the Huawei executive was “calm and open” until he turned to questions about security concerns surrounding the company’s products.

Sanjit Dhillon was an acting superintendent with Canada Border Services Agency in December 2018 when Meng was detained for three hours then arrested by the RCMP.

Meng is facing extradition to the United States on fraud charges. Meng and Huawei deny the allegations she lied to HSBC, putting the bank at risk of violating American sanctions against Iran.

“At the beginning she was calm and open. When I started asking questions specifically about the security concerns regarding her company she got a little closed off,” Dhillon said.

Dhillon testified at an evidentiary hearing Monday in B.C. Supreme Court where Meng’s lawyers are trying to gather evidence to support their argument that she was subject to an abuse of process. Her legal team alleges RCMP and border officials co-ordinated their actions to obtain evidence against her before her arrest.

Dhillon was not the border officer leading the examination but as a superior, he said he sometimes steps in when he believes he can help.

Court documents have previously shown that he questioned Meng about Huawei’s activity in Iran.

Before Meng’s plane landed, Dhillon said she was flagged in an internal database for an outstanding warrant in her name.

Anticipating her arrival, Dhillon testified he found a Wikipedia page about Huawei that said the company doesn’t operate in the United States because of security concerns and that Huawei was suspected of violating U.S. economic sanctions with Iran.

Dhillon said he stepped in when Meng asked why she was being held for so long.

“I interjected and asked specific questions to Ms. Meng about her company and also what I found during the open-source query,” Dhillon testified. “I wanted to further the examination.”

The purpose of the customs and immigration exam was to determine Meng’s admissibility to Canada, which could be affected by possible criminality or national security concerns, he said.

Dhillon asked Meng what she did. She said she was the chief financial officer of a global telecommunications company, he told the court.

He asked where the company did business. When she listed countries without including the United States he asked her why.

“She said we don’t sell our products in the United States,” Dhillon said.

He asked if there was a reason why and Meng responded she didn’t know. Dhillon said he then reframed the question.

“Since she’s the chief financial officer of this telecommunications company, I would assume that she would know why her company isn’t able to sell its products in one of the most lucrative markets in the world,” Dhillon said.

“She was quiet. She didn’t respond right away. And eventually she said there was a security concern with the product the U.S. government had.”

He testified Meng didn’t say what those concerns were.

Dhillon said his questions were based on his own online search and he was not directed by anyone to ask her questions.

Dhillon is the fourth witness to testify in the evidence hearings. Meng’s legal team will argue next year that Canadian officials gathered evidence under the pretence of a routine immigration exam and kept intentionally poor notes.

Supt. Bryce McRae, a colleague of Dhillon’s, testified Monday that at no point was he instructed to avoid taking notes.

McRae also denied an allegation by Meng’s defence lawyer Mona Duckett that he “fabricated” part of his testimony regarding instructions he received from the border agency’s national security unit.

McRae said he phoned the unit for guidance and was provided a series of questions to ask Meng, including where her residences are around the world.

He shared the questions orally with at least one of the border officers in the examination room but did not write them down, he said.

“I suggest that when you spoke to (her) she informed you you should shut down this exam,” said Duckett.

“I don’t recall ever receiving that information,” McRae responded.

Duckett pointed to McRae’s notes, which recorded the calls to the unit as happening after an officer questioned Meng about her homes.

“I suggest … your evidence about the advice you received is an entire fabrication,” said Duckett.

McRae denied the suggestion.

He told the court that officers under his supervision would have had their own questions for Meng and would not have solely relied on guidance from the national security unit.

Since Meng’s arrest, relations between Canada and China have eroded, and China’s arrest of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are widely considered to be retaliation for her detention.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Huawei

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read