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Vancouver actor says she was conned into protesting Meng extradition
Meng Wanzhou chief financial officer of Huawei leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, January 17, 2020 as she heads to B.C. Supreme Court. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver actor says she was tricked into holding a protest sign outside the court where Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's extradition hearing is underway.
Thirty-two-year-old Julia Hackstaff says an acquaintance reached out to her on Facebook offering $100 for a two-hour acting job.
Hackstaff says she arrived at the given address Monday morning, then was sent to the British Columbia Supreme Court where she was told to hold a sign in support of Meng.
She says she thought it was a poorly organized production until a reporter started asking her pointed questions and she realized she wasn't dealing with another actor.
It's unclear who was behind the protest-for-hire and Hackstaff says she left right away without being paid and believes the acquaintance who contacted her was also a victim of the scam.
Benjamin Howes, a spokesman in Huawei's international media affairs department, says in an email the company had no involvement with the protesters or supporters outside the courthouse.
The arrest of Meng in Vancouver in 2018 and the U.S. extradition request has severely strained Canada, China relations.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2020.