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HomeBusinessFrom the RCMP files: The Meng Wanzhou arrest timeline

From the RCMP files: The Meng Wanzhou arrest timeline

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Bob Mackin

One year ago, on Nov. 30, 2018. Canadian authorities were in a rush to arrange a welcome for Meng Wanzhou, who was packing for a business trip that was supposed to take her from Hong Kong to Vancouver, Mexico City, Costa Rica, Argentina and France.

Meng Wanzhou’s Hong Kong passport (B.C. Courts exhibits)

Instead, the Huawei Chief Financial Officer found herself in a cell in the Richmond RCMP detachment. She was moved to the Alouette jail for women in Maple Ridge and shuttled to and from a packed courtroom at the Law Courts in downtown Vancouver.

The United States government wanted her extradited to face charges she defrauded banks in an effort to subvert U.S. sanctions forbidding trade with Iran. A judge in New York City had issued an arrest warrant on Aug. 22, 2018.

The Chinese government said she was a victim of the ongoing trade war. Chinese social media was abuzz about the “Huawei Princess,” the daughter of founder Ren Zhenghfei. 

Meng was freed on $10 million bail Dec. 11. to live in her Dunbar corner house, surrounded by court-appointed bodyguards, while wearing a GPS anklet to enforce an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. She is allowed to travel with those bodyguards, within City of Vancouver and parts of the North Shore and Richmond. But not near the airport. She now lives in her Shaughnessy mansion, on the same block, coincidentally, as the U.S. consulate general’s mansion.

Meng’s arrest did not become public until Dec. 5, 2018. It became the biggest news story in Vancouver since the 2010 Winter Olympics. It also began a 12-month period in which China came under the most international media scrutiny since Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. 

Xi Jinping’s celebration of 70 years of Communist Party rule became overshadowed by the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the concentration camps for more than a million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province. Meanwhile, the Canadian government, under a re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, continues to consider whether to allow Huawei to build the nation’s fifth generation telecommunications infrastructure, despite warnings of Chinese government surveillance from allies, including the U.S.

Meng’s extradition hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 20, 2020 in Vancouver. Here is the timeline of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018 from RCMP documents obtained by theBreaker.news from the B.C. Supreme Court.

Nov. 30, 2018
  • 8:58 a.m. (Pacific Standard Time) E Division Foreign and Domestic Liaison Unit received an email from the Department of Justice Vancouver office, in anticipation of an urgent provisional arrest request that same day.
  • 9:04 a.m. Const. Gurv Dhaliwal text to Const. Winston Yep: “DOJ also advised another provisional warrant is coming in… no details yet but they need someone at their office around 3 p.m. to sign an affidavit.”

    Text messages between RCMP officers , on the eve of Meng Wanzhou’s arrest (BC Courts)

  • 1:11 p.m. Urgent request received, including a password protected attachment: a summary of fact for Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese citizen.
  • 3 p.m. Members were advised that Meng was arriving to Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, arriving 11:30 a.m., Cathay Pacific flight 838. Dhaliwal assigned to assist Yep with a Warrant of Provisional Arrest in regards to Meng Wanzhou, aliases Cathy Meng and Sabrina Meng. Department of Justice attorney John Gibb-Carsley provided a copy of the warrant, granted by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Margot Fleming. 
  • 3:23 p.m. Dhaliwal text to Yep: “I’m staying at the office until we have a plan in place for tomorrow.”

Yep: “OK we’re just waiting on Janice to call Peter.”

Dhaliwal: “OT for everyone!”

  • 4:22 p.m. Dhaliwal requested contact numbers for Regional District officers, Richmond YVR supervisors, to locate a Mandarin speaking female officer to assist with the arrest, to obtain all direct flights from YVR to Mexico happening on Dec. 1 about 12 hours after Meng is to land at YVR. Meng’s next stop, after Vancouver, was to be Mexico City.
  • 4:31 p.m. FDLU forwarded request for assistance to Richmond YVR RCMP to provide contact numbers and a Mandarin speaking female officer.
  • 5 p.m. Dhaliwal and Yep attend YVR to speak to Richmond RCMP regarding upcoming possible arrest of Meng on Dec. 1.
  • 7:52 p.m. Provisional Warrant for Meng, granted by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Fleming, on Canadian Police Information Centre database.
Dec. 1, 2018
  • 12:01 a.m. Cathay Pacific flight 838 departs Hong Kong (local time 4:01 p.m.). Destination: Vancouver.
  • 7:30 a.m. FBI Assistant Legal Attache in Vancouver email to RCMP and CBSA counterparts. “Sorry for the early morning email. My HQ is asking if there is confirmation the subject has boarded the plane.”
  • Meng Wanzhou’s CBSA declaration card mugshot on Dec. 1, 2018 (BC Courts)

    8:02 a.m. Sgt. Ross Lundie email to RCMP, CBSA and FBI officers. “I have just spoken with CBSA and confirmed that she is on the plane.”

  • 9:30 a.m. Const. Dhaliwal and Const. Yep attend YVR and have briefing with Sgt. Lundie, Const. Dawn But and CBSA officers Scott Kirkland, Sanjit Dhillon and Sowmith Katragadda.
  • 10:03 a.m. FBI Assistant Legal Attache in Vancouver email to RCMP and CBSA officers.
  • “Below is description. White t-shirt with lettering on the front, dark pants, white shoes, carrying large purse/bag, hair slightly longer than shoulder length.”
  • 11:18 a.m. Cathay Pacific flight 838 arrives at gate 65; CBSA officers Kirkland and Katragadda wait at jetway.
  • 11:21 a.m. Kirkland takes control of two cell phones from Meng and one cell phone from her companion.
  • 11:30 a.m. Meng in CBSA secondary waiting area.
  • 11:44 a.m. Yep text to Dhaliwal: “She’s been pulled into secondary at CBSA with her female companion. Once they are done, we will serve the warrant on her.”
  • 2:13 p.m. Yep and But escort Meng to room C2860.0 at CBSA secondary area.
  • 2:15 p.m. Warrant executed.

But: “So because in the United States, you have committed fraud, we’re arresting you and then you will be sent back to the United States.”

Meng: “Me?”

But: “Right.”

Yep: “Now this is a warrant of provisional arrest under section 13 of the Extradition Act..”

Meng: “You think that, you’re saying I committed fraud in the United States?”

But: “Yes.”

Officers read Meng the warrant.

Meng Wanzhou’s RCMP prisoner report from Dec. 1, 2018 (BC Courts)

But: “We’re going to take you to the police station in Richmond, and then when we arrive there, you’ll be placed into our cells. We need to obtain your fingerprint and then take a photo of you. Then you will stay a few days and then go to the United States. Because today is Saturday, it won’t be until Monday when you’ll be able to see the judge.”

Meng: “You’re saying I’m seeing a judge in Canada?”

But: “Right.”

Meng: “And then after I see the judge, I’ll go to the United States?”

  • 2:27 p.m. Yep read Meng her rights.
  • 2:45 p.m. Katragadda handed Dhaliwal a Hong Kong passport belonging to Meng.
  • 2:59 p.m. Dhaliwal seized all personal belongings subsequent to the arrest of Meng: two cell phones, one iPad; one MacBook computer; one Cruzer Glide 3.0 256 GB storage; eight pieces of luggage (suitcases, handbags and boxes). The iPad was festooned with Winnie the Pooh stickers. Is Meng a Disney fan or was she poking fun at Xi Jinping?  
  • 3:32 p.m. One brown Botega bag, wallet with money, large Rimowa blue suitcase and four rings given to her travel companion, as per Meng’s request.
  • 3:53 p.m. Dhaliwal leaves YVR for Richmond RCMP with Meng’s electronic devices.
  • 4:38 p.m. Dhaliwal observed Meng at Richmond RCMP cells. She is assigned prisoner number 849.
  • 4:44 p.m. Meng fingerprinted and photographed. The booking officer determines she is alert and her state of mind is “OK.” But her balance is “fair.” 
  • 5:06 p.m. Meng escorted to private phone room 407 to await a call
  • 5:17 p.m. Meng picked up phone in room 407; she hung up the phone at 5:25 p.m.

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