Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou had a getaway plan, hoping that a judge would throw the United States extradition bid out of court last May so she could make a triumphant return to Shenzhen, China.
It involved a Chinese diplomat waiting for her arrival at near-empty Vancouver International Airport.
Two jumbo jets not listed on the departures board inside the international terminal, but destined for different cities in the same region of China. Both briefly appearing on flight monitoring websites. One of the flights chartered by the Chinese Communist government.
And a detailed security plan crafted by the former Mountie who is second in command at the court appointed company Meng paid since she was freed on bail in December 2018.
Could Meng have been ushered onto the plane before Canadian government lawyers had a chance to file an appeal?
We will never know, because Assoc. Chief Justice Heather Holmes decided on May 27 that the highest-profile extradition case in the world could proceed because it met a key legal test within Canadian law.
Doug Maynard of Lions Gate Risk Management testified in B.C. Supreme Court on Jan. 12 that the Chinese government chartered a China Southern Airlines jet to take her home. He said he was heavily involved in the plan.
“Being very familiar with the operations of Vancouver International Airport and policing in that environment, there’s a number of subtleties that kick in, it’s a Transport Canada environment,” said Maynard, who retired after 31 years as a Mountie before joining Lions Gate in 2016.
Maynard said he liaised with airport authority managers, security staff and RCMP officers before he knew what type of plane would be available and at which terminal. So he created several scenarios to get Meng from the courthouse to the airport and onto the plane.
“On several occasions I did (go to the airport), I met with Ms. Meng’s staff, as well as some of the People’s Republic of China consular resources, at the airport to brief them on what the final plan was,” he said. “That couldn’t be determined until the aircraft was determined. The missing piece of information was the aircraft and where it was going to be parked.”
On May 27, theBreaker.news learned there were two China Southern Airlines jets at YVR scheduled to depart for Guangzhou and Shenzhen three hours apart in the afternoon. The two jets were photographed at the terminal and on the runway. Shenzhen is the hometown of Huawei, the biggest smartphone company in the world that wants to dominate the world’s fifth generation mobile technology.
It was highly unusual last spring for two Chinese passenger jets to be at Vancouver International Airport on the same day because of pandemic air travel restrictions for both Chinese and Canadian carriers. The few flights allowed were for cargo carrying and essential workers only. No tourists allowed. As such, the airport’s international terminal was a ghost town.
Crown lawyer John Gibb-Carsley and Maynard both referred in court to a Boeing 777. One of the planes photographed was China Southern’s Boeing 787-9 decorated with a special livery denoting it was the American manufacturer’s 787th Dreamliner off the production line.
“We had agreement that we would be escorted through security, to provide her some comfort and safety moving through the airport right to the terminal, the finger and check-in at the aircraft,” Maynard said.
The operation was so detailed that even the PRC’s Vancouver vice-consul, Wang Chengjun, spent the morning at the airport waiting for Meng to arrive. Some of her personal effects, for use on the flight, had been packed and waiting for her to pick-up at a neutral location.
But the verdict on the issue of double-criminality was released to her defence lawyers at 9 a.m. and they were allowed to share it with her before she left her $13.6 million Shaughnessy mansion for the courthouse at 10:30 a.m.
Liu testified that he was aware of the plan, but claimed he did not know it was a jumbo jet scheduled to take his wife home. He said he was unaware that members of the consulate staff were involved in arranging the flight.
Meng continues to fight the U.S. charges, claiming Canadian border guards and federal police infringed her constitutional rights and the U.S. case is motivated by politics. In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that Meng’s lawyers are talking to U.S. officials about a possible plea bargain.
Meng appeared in court Jan. 12 in a bid to relax her bail conditions.
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