Meng could have been arrested before going through customs: officer

After RCMP and CBSA officers testified Meng should go through customs before being arrested, an RCMP officer involved in her arrest says it could have been done before customs. Meng's lawyers argue the search of Meng at customs was an abuse of process.

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — An RCMP officer who assisted in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver's airport two years ago says the Huawei executive could have been arrested before going through customs.

Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal was in charge of documenting and securing anything seized from Meng in 2018 during the arrest, which put a chill on Canada's relations with China.

Under cross-examination in B.C. Supreme Court, Dhaliwal agreed that it would have been possible to arrest Meng immediately after she got off the plane rather than waiting for the Canada Border Services Agency to conduct its examination first.

Dhaliwal is testifying as part of an evidence-gathering hearing where Meng's lawyers hope to collect information that will support its allegations that Canadian authorities improperly gathered evidence to aid American officials under the guise of a routine immigration exam.

The court has heard that Meng was in the custody of border officials for nearly three hours before she was arrested and informed of her charter rights and right to a lawyer.

Meng is wanted in the United States on charges of fraud over allegations related to U.S. sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny.

RCMP and CBSA officers have testified that they believed the border exam should go first because the airport is in the jurisdiction of the border agency.

While Dhaliwal agreed that arresting Meng first was a possibility, he also said there was one possible impediment to such a plan.

"The CBSA would have something to say about that," Dhaliwal said.

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