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

A bowl from Obey Poke, part of Joseph Richard Group’s Meal Ticket Brands launch in 2019. The program is now known as Canteen: A Virtual Food Court, at wearethecanteen.ca. (file/submitted photo)
On #TakeoutDay, Surrey restaurants urge direct meal orders, not second-party delivery

Dowtown Surrey BIA says ‘we can help support restaurants that already have a lot on their plates’

Parliament Hill is shown in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The Trudeau government has agreed with the Senate that Canadians suffering solely from grievous and irremediable mental illnesses should be entitled to receive medical assistance in dying — but not for another two years. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick photo)
Self-advocates ‘sad, scared, angry’ over revisions to assisted-death legislation

Bill C-7 was expanded to include access to medically assisted death for non-terminal conditions

The South Point Exchange Wendy’s location was ordered closed for 10 days due to COVID-19. The closure took effect on April 9, 2021. (Google Streetview screenshot)
COVID-19 prompts 10-day closure of South Surrey fast-food restaurant

Fraser Health confirms order for South Point Wendy’s was issued April 9

Waterstock Properties is looking to build 114 residential units near 16 Avenue and 157 Street. (Urban Arts Architecture rendering)
Amendments sought for South Surrey apartment, townhouse project receive third reading

Residents, councillors speak for and against proposed density of Waterstock Properties’ 114-unit plan

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock draws criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

A new Lower Mainland study will examine feline COVID-19 transmission using data gathered from up to 40 cats living with newly infected adults. (Pixabay)
CDC conducting mobile kitty COVID tests outside of Lower Mainland homes

Researchers are probing whether humans can transmit the coronavirus to household pets

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Most Read