VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It was presented to her as a quick way to make $150, but now, a Burnaby woman has been left horrified after seeing pictures of herself holding a Meng Wanzhou support sign go viral.
After getting a call from a friend on short notice Monday morning, the 20-year-old wrapped up a shift at her job, saying the friend told her all she had to do was stand outside court and hold a sign for two hours in order to collect the cash.
Once outside B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, she joined up with the person who recruited her, along with other people paid to hold signs supporting Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, who is currently facing possible extradition to the U.S. on fraud charges.
This woman said she did not know most of the other people supporting Meng outside court, and has no knowledge of the Chinese tech executive’s legal case or the international fallout which has seen China detain two Canadians, widely believed to be in retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
NEWS 1130 has granted anonymity to this woman, but has confirmed her identity as one of the people present outside court on Monday.
Soon after arriving outside court, this woman realized this was anything but an easy way to make some dough, as a throng of local and international media descended on B.C. Supreme Court, and started asking her and others questions.
Worth noting these “activists” holding signs were very firm in declining interviews to identify who they are/affiliated with. This is an extremely rare position for activists to take. Should be noted. #mengwanzhou https://t.co/UDCZCvoZqy
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) January 20, 2020
Now, she has decided to provide some answers, and is also apologizing for agreeing to participate in a manufactured protest.
“I would like to apologize for the ignorance,” said this woman. “I should have done my research. I should have put 10 minutes into searching what this was. I didn’t, and I apologize for standing up for something that, in my own morals and in my own heart, I wouldn’t have done this if I had known the trial, the case, and more about Meng and what was going on.”
This woman said she was paid the $150 by an Asian woman in her 30s wearing all black named “Joey,” but has no further information about who “Joey” is or who she is affiliated with.
When NEWS 1130 asked this paid protester if there was any suggestion that “Joey” was representing Huawei or the Chinese government, she told us she had no further information, suggesting another alternative possibility: that “Joey” is simply a supporter of Meng.
I asked Huawei if it was involved in alleged payments to those holding signs in support of Meng Wanzhou outside court. This was reply:
“Huawei had no involvement with the protestors or supporters outside the Vancouver courthouse and is unaware of any plans by those responsible.” https://t.co/b5FCJlvZPE
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) January 21, 2020
A Huawei spokesperson denied involvement in the alleged payments to those holding signs in support of Meng Wanzhou outside court.
“Huawei had no involvement with the protestors or supporters outside the Vancouver courthouse and is unaware of any plans by those responsible,” read an email.
Ultimately, this woman wants people to know she regrets signing up for this.
“I’m definitely ashamed, embarrassed,” said the woman. “I just want to be able to come forward and make things right. Again, I don’t believe that people should be paid to be protesting. Now that I’ve experienced it, I’m going to be learning from my mistakes and I hope that if someone is ever put in a position that they think they’re going to make a quick, easy $150 or X amount, for an hour or two, and it seems like a legit thing, it’s not worth it.”
As for the cash, this woman said she views it as “dirty money” and wants nothing to do with it. She has offloaded it to her partner, suggesting he can donate it or spend it, adding she just wants to move on.