Huawei denies paying protestors outside finance chief's extradition trial

Margi Murphy
The protestors tried to hide their faces when asked questions about why they wanted Ms Meng freed - AFP

Huawei has denied it paid actors to demonstrate in support of Meng Wanzhou outside of the Canadian court where her high profile extradition hearing is taking place

A mysterious recruiter contacted actors in Vancouver offering CA$100 (£58) for two hours of work as an extra in a film, according to one actress. In reality, the actors were being paid to protest the charges against Ms Meng, the Huawei finance chief who is also the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei. 

“I was contacted on Sunday night regarding a job as a background performer for next morning that would take two hours and pay 100 dollars,” actress Julia Hackstaff wrote on Facebook. She said she left after five minutes after the recruiter confirmed it was a real protest. 

Hackstaff was one of dozens of young protestors stood outside the British Columbia Supreme Court on Tuesday, holding red pieces of card with the words “free Ms Meng” and “Trump stop bullying us”. 

None were able to respond while reporters quizzed them on what organisation they were representing. 

Protestors refused to answer reporters' questions about who had sent them, or which organisation they belonged to Credit: Getty

A Huawei spokesman said: “Huawei had no involvement with the protestors or supporters outside the Vancouver courthouse and is unaware of any plans by those responsible.”

Ms Meng, who Huawei claims has become a political pawn in Donald Trump’s escalation against a rising China, is expected to hear whether she will be surrendered to the US late Thursday. 

She has spent the week in court fighting to be released. She was arrested in Vancouver airport in December 2018 while transferring planes and has been under house arrest ever since. 

Her lawyers argue that Ms Meng’s alleged misconduct would not be criminal in Canada, and therefore legally must be released. 

The 47-year-old, whose family remains in China, is accused of lying to HSBC and three other banks about Huawei’s operations with Iran, which is subject to sanctions in the US.