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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who rammed a police car to escape an arrest attempt. 
(File photo)
Lumby robbery suspect leaves empty handed, and gets caught

Armed suspect demanded cash and lottery tickets from Vernon Street business

Executive director of CMHA Vernon Julia Payson says the North Okanagan has incredible community-based mental health services that can help take the pressure off acute care in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but funding is necessary. (Contributed)
Calls to Vernon crisis line jump 63 per cent amid COVID-19

Studies find suicidal feelings deepen in second wave of pandemic; community resources need funding

Paul Nixon (centre) of Nixon Wenger LLP is recognized in 2014 as North Okanagan Community Life Society’s Good Guy of the Year by NOCLS Golf Classic committee members Ruby Sharma (left) and Rick Dubois, on the roof of the Nixon Wenger building on 30th Avenue. Tributes are pouring in for Nixon, who died of cancer Nov. 25 at the age of 72. (Morning Star file photo)
Tributes pour in for Vernon lawyer, community booster

Paul Nixon, founder of Nixon Wenger LLP, died Nov. 25 of cancer at age 72

A power outage on Westside Road affected thousands of residents Thursday morning. (BC Hydro map)
UPDATE: Power restored for thousands on Westside

Outage sparked early this morning due to equipment malfunction

The Winnipeg-based app released its 2020 findings thus far showing the people of Vernon jumped at the opportunity to support its local favourites amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (SkipTheDishes photo)
Pandemic pushes 50% more Vernon eateries on SkipTheDishes

‘Vernon is a trendsetter,’ delivery app says after revealing city’s favourite takeout foods

Paule Moore, formerly known as Paule Seeger. (TNG Legal Services)
Kelowna lawyer to face disciplinary hearing over alleged misappropriated funds

Paule Moore, née Seeger, is accused of withdrawing client trust funds a number of times when she was not entitled to do so

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Access to a Bastion Road property in Sunnybrae was blocked with officers on scene on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (File photo)
Report clears RCMP actions that led to fatal shooting of Shuswap suspect

Independent Investigations Office of BC releases findings on Jan. 7 incident in Tappen

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

A dirt bike crash on May 18 left Kelowna’s Steven Margetts paralyzed and without work. (GoFundMe)
Kelowna man paralyzed in dirt bike crash makes plea for help

GoFundMe launched for Steven Margetts, who shares a harrowing recap of his life-changing crash

Most Read