Court orders Canadian police to destroy note with Meng Wanzhou’s phone passwords, return her devices

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  • Meng Wanzhou
    Chinese business executive

A Canadian court has ordered federal police to destroy a handwritten note carrying the passwords to Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou’s phones.

The note became a controversial piece of evidence in Meng’s now-defunct extradition case when it emerged that officers had obtained it in breach of privacy laws.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia’s order, dated October 21 and made public on Monday, also demanded that Meng’s electronic devices be handed over to her lawyers, as well as electronic copies of their contents which are to be erased or destroyed.

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Meng Wanzhou's Huawei Mate 20 phone, seized by Canadian border officers on December 1, 2018. Photo: BC Supreme Court
Meng Wanzhou's Huawei Mate 20 phone, seized by Canadian border officers on December 1, 2018. Photo: BC Supreme Court

The devices seized from Meng when she was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018, are listed as an Apple Macbook Air laptop, an Apple iPad Pro, an iPhone 7 Plus, a Huawei Porsche Design Mate 20 phone, a Scandisk memory stick, and the two phones’ SIM cards.

Meng’s passwords were jotted down on a piece of paper by border officer Scott Kirkland, something that was described as a routine procedure during extradition proceedings for the chief financial officer of Huawei.

But by giving the note to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when they arrested Meng, Kirkland, admitted that he had broken privacy laws and said he had made an “embarrassing” and “heart-wrenching” mistake.

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Meng’s lawyers depicted the handover as a deliberate and covert attempt to help the RCMP and the American Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Meng’s extradition case, which threw China’s relations with Canada and the US into turmoil, ended on September 24 when the US struck a deferred prosecution agreement with her that effectively halted the fraud case against her.

Meng Wanzhou delivers a statement after her release by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on September 24. Photo: Bloomberg
Meng Wanzhou delivers a statement after her release by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on September 24. Photo: Bloomberg

She was freed and immediately flew back to China on a chartered jet.

The court order for the return of the exhibits in the case, signed by Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, also requires the RCMP to destroy any copies of the serial numbers of Meng’s devices, and not to share those numbers with any other law enforcement agency.

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