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

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Mainly clear and sunny skies are expected for the Okanagan-Shuswap region this week. (Maxpixels photo)
Warm, sunny week ahead in Okanagan-Shuswap

Daytime highs will reach the low 20s with mainly clear skies this week

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read