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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

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

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Most Read