Photos revealing personal life of Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou are given to Vancouver court to show her time in Canada

  • A lawyer says the snapshots provided to the court are just ‘typical tourist pictures’
  • Meng ‘has significant ties to Vancouver – dating back at least 15 years’, her bail application says
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 1:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 8:29pm

The photographs of detained Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou could come straight out of a promotional album for Vancouver.

The family poses in Stanley Park, with the Lion’s Gate Bridge in the background. On a boat in False Creek. At the Whistler ski resort. Children clamber on driftwood logs on the shores of English Bay.

In all, Meng’s face beams back. But every other face in the pictures is redacted, covered in a court-imposed black rectangle.

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The pictures were released by British Columbia’s Supreme Court on Monday after a request by a consortium of media groups.

The exhibits were provided to the court by Meng’s legal team to bolster her claim at her bail hearing that she has “significant ties” to Vancouver, as the defence lawyers try to build the case that she can be trusted to remain in the city if released on bail. The hearing continues on Tuesday.

“[She] has significant ties to Vancouver – dating back at least 15 years. There was a period in her life when she had permanent residency status in Vancouver,” her lawyer David J Martin wrote in the bail application.

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“Her and her husband own two homes in Vancouver. … Every year, the applicant, her immediate family and her extended family spend significant portions of their summers in Vancouver.”

Yet John Gibb-Carsley, the Canadian attorney general’s lawyer opposing bail, on behalf of the United States, sees the photos differently.

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The photos provided to the court, showing Meng and her family in Vancouver, were described by Martin last Friday as “typical tourist pictures”, said Gibb-Carsley at the hearing on Monday. “He corrected himself, but that [description] tells the story.”

Gibb-Carsley argues that Meng has no significant connection to Vancouver or Canada, having relinquished permanent residency in 2009.

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Her husband, Liu Xiaozong, their daughter and at least one of Meng’s sons from a previous marriage lived in Vancouver for years afterwards, but no longer.

Liu and the 10-year-old daughter live in Shenzhen with Meng; one of the sons, 14, lives in Hong Kong with his father, while another, aged 16, is being schooled in Andover, near Boston, Massachusetts. The location of Meng’s eldest son, a 20-year-old computer engineer, is not known.