Zhang has been charged for making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and entering a restricted area in the resort.
Washington: A woman from China who attempted to enter President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida carrying a thumb drive with malicious malware and two Chinese passports has been arrested and is being charged with lying to a Secret Service officer and having knowingly entered a restricted building.
The Washington Post quoting court documents said the accused, Yujing Zhang on Saturday made her way past a security checkpoint at the Club, owned by Donald Trump in Palm Beach shortly after noon and told security officials she was there to go to the swimming pool.
“Zhang was asked if the true member . . . was her father, but she did not give a definitive answer,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Secret Service special agent Samuel Ivanovich.
“Zhang additionally did not give a definitive answer when asked if she was there to meet with anyone. Due to a potential language barrier issue, Mar-a-Lago believed her to be the relative of member Zhang and allowed her access onto the property,” the court document added.
According to the arrest affidavit the woman after nearing the swimming pool area of the resort was questioned by a receptionist she told she was at the Mar-a-Lago for a United Nations Chinese American Association event later that evening.
The receptionist alerted a Secret Service agent, who detained Zhang for questioning. Upon being questioned further by Security Service agents, Zhang alleged that she had arrived early for the event so that she could “familiarise herself with the property and take pictures.”
At that time, Zang showed her documents to the security official but he could not decipher the content as it was written in Chinese. Following this, Zhang was taken to a different location for further interrogation.
“During the second interview of Zhang, she claimed her Chinese friend ‘Charles’ told her to travel from Shanghai, China to Palm Beach, Florida, to attend this event and attempt to speak with a member of the President’s family about Chinese and American foreign economic relations. Agents were unable to obtain any information more specifically identifying Zhang’s purported contact, ‘Charles’,” the complaint said.
The charging document further revealed that a search of Zhang’s belongings showed four cell phones, a laptop, a hard drive, and a thumb drive which contained “malicious malware”.
Authorities have also claimed that despite her intention to go near the swimming pool area, Zhang was not carrying her swimsuit. As of now, Zhang has been charged for making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and entering a restricted area in the resort.
An investigation into the matter is underway.