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South China Morning Post

Retired Canadian police officer refuses to testify at Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing

A retired Canadian police officer is refusing to testify at Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing in Vancouver, amid claims by Meng’s lawyers that Canadian authorities were involved in a covert evidence-gathering exercise against her at the behest of American law enforcement.Ben Chang, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) staff sergeant, has retained outside counsel and has been advised not to appear at the hearings, which resumed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Monday, Meng’s lead counsel Richard Peck told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes.The refusal was a “matter of some concern”, Peck said.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Chang was involved in email conversations with Sherri Onks, the legal attaché in Vancouver for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, on December 1, 2018, the day of Meng’s arrest, according to Meng’s lawyers.Chang also received a phone call from “a Chinese minister” following Meng’s arrest, Meng’s lawyers say.Also on Monday, the court heard that Meng may still be a permanent resident of Canada – despite her attempt to relinquish that status 18 years ago.The rules under which the relinquishment was made were redundant and had no legal force, according to a Canadian border agency email read in court. Meng’s legal team has been trying to show that Meng’s examination by border agents was unjustified; had Meng been identified as a permanent resident, it might have influenced whether that examination should have proceeded.Meng’s lawyers have depicted various interactions between RCMP officers and the FBI as evidence that Meng’s treatment on the day of her arrest at Vancouver’s airport was intended to gather evidence for her prosecution in the US.Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and a daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, is accused by US authorities of defrauding HSBC by lying about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, exposing the bank to the risk of breaching US sanctions on the Middle East country. Meng denies the charges. Border agent calls giving police Meng’s passwords a ‘heart-wrenching’ errorChang had said in an affidavit that he “believes” the FBI requested “identifying information from the electronic devices seized from Ms Meng”.But he also said in the affidavit that “[as] I was never asked for the identifying information by [any] member of the FBI, or any other member of any other United States authorities, this information was never shared”.Meng’s lawyers called this a “boilerplate denial”.Chang did not explain where his initial “belief” about an FBI request came from, they said.Meng was searched and…

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