Chinese woman enters Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

US secret service, which protects current and past presidents and their families, arrested a woman from China who had entered President Donald Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, last Saturday going through layers of security.

The woman, identified as Yujing Zhang by authorities, was found to have been carrying two Chinese passports, four cellphones and a thumb drive infected with malicious software, according to court papers, which also said she had been charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement officers and entering a restricted area.

Zhang, 33 showed up at the resort in the morning — President Trump was playing golf a 10-minute drive away — saying she wanted to use the swimming pool. Secret Service agents let her in after the resort management said her last name matched that of a member’s. She did not, however, answer a question if she was the member’s daughter.

A valet-driven golf cart took Zhang to the main reception. When asked by the receptionist, she said she was there for a United Nations Chinese American Association event later in the evening and that she came early to familiarise herself with the place and take pictures, according to court papers.

The receptionist knew from the logs no such event was slated for the day. And she alerted a Secret Service agent. When questioned by agents she allegedly said she had been sent from Shanghai by someone called “Charles” to get in touch with a member of the president’s family to talk about US-China relations.

She had never met this person, but had been in touch with him on a Chinese social media platform WeChat. Agents could not ascertain this man’s identify or whereabouts.

In a search of Zhang’s belongings, Secret Service agents found two Chinese passports, four cellphones, a laptop, a hard drive and a thumb drive with malicious software. She was arrested , charged with making false statements and entering restricted area.

First Published:
Apr 03, 2019 21:49 IST

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