Three Hong Kong passports belonging to Meng Wanzhou, the top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei, were revealed in a Canadian court on Tuesday. The evidence supports Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s claim that Meng only had one valid Hong Kong passport at any time.
Meng, who is Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 – at the request of US authorities – while transferring planes on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico. She is on trial over Huawei’s alleged violation of US sanctions over Iran. Canadian court documents revealed that she had three Hong Kong passports with different numbers.
On Tuesday night, Meng was approved bail by a Canadian court with 10 million Canadian dollars (HK$58.45 million). She has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device on her leg until the next court hearing on February 6. The judge said the court was satisfied with the fact that Meng had only two valid passports – one from China and one from Hong Kong.
During the bail hearing, Meng’s three Hong Kong passports were submitted to the court. All three had the expiry date of October 18, 2021. The second and the third passports had been issued “in replacement” of the previous ones. The previous ones were cancelled when the new ones were issued.
The first passport was issued on October 18, 2011 with the name Meng Wanzhou. But for the second passport issued on November 7, 2014, Meng had added “Liu” before her surname. Liu is her husband’s surname.
According to an affidavit of Meng’s husband Liu Xiaozong, Liu explained that Meng followed Hong Kong tradition in adding his surname to her name after the marriage, making it Liu Meng Wanzhou. But according to a Hong Kong marriage document revealed at the same court, Meng and Liu married in 2007.
Liu added that Huawei’s legal department said Meng’s new name was not consistent with the company’s employee records, and applied for a third passport with her original name Meng Wanzhou, which was issued on December 19, 2014.
Liu said the third passport is the one that Meng currently uses, and was held by Canadian authorities when she was arrested.
The details of the three passports alongside Liu’s statements apparently corroborate Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s claim that Meng only had one valid Hong Kong passport at any time.
“Insofar as the issue of passports of Madam Meng, all the procedures and arrangements are in order,” Lam said on Tuesday.
Lawmaker Claudia Mo, convener of the pro-democracy camp, told HKFP on Wednesday that she was satisfied with Lam’s explanation with the evidence now surfaced.
“Except Lam could have clarified sooner to avoid all the unnecessary concerns,” she said.
“I’m still concerned as to why and how Meng could be holding SAR and mainland Chinese passports at the same time. More than curious still,” she added.
Asked if the Hong Kong government should investigate why Meng still holds Chinese passports, Mo said: “Of course. But then we’ll perhaps need to see if indeed Meng’s mainland Chinese passports are valid.”
Chinese citizens are not technically supposed to hold passports from mainland China and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene with the US Justice Department in the case against Meng if it helped secure a trade deal with Beijing.
“If I think it’s good for the country, if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office.