Woman with two Chinese passports charged, after entering Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club with malware laden thumb drive
A Chinese national has been charged by US authorities after she allegedly lied to enter the Mar-a-Lago club belonging to President Donald Trump.
Mar-a-Lago is the Trump family’s winter retreat and is also a private members club. Yujing Zhang, aged 32, has been charged with making false statements to a federal officer and entering a restricted area.
Zhang was said to have been carrying two Chinese passports and a thumb drive containing malware, when she allegedly said she wanted to access the swimming pool at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
The Washington Post has published a copy of the US criminal charges against Yujing Zhang, filed by the US Secret Service.
The complaint said that on 28 March 2019, a protective zone was established around the resort to secure it for a Presidential visit.
It said that an “Asian female” (later identified at Zhang) on 30 March had attempted to gain access to the resort.
“Zhang informed Special Agent Kerr that she was there to go to the pool and presented Special Agent Kerr with two Republic of China passports as identification, both in the name of Zhang and displaying her photograph,” said the US charge sheet.
“Due to a potential language barrier issue, M ar-a-laago believed her to be the relative of member Zhang and allowed her access onto the property,” read the charge.
Despite telling the Secret Service that she was there to access the pool, Zhang then told a valet driver she didn’t know where she wanted to go. When she was later quizzed by staff members, she told them that she was there for a United Nations Chinese American Association event later in the evening.
“The Receptionist knew this event did not exist on property as she has a complete list of events. The Receptionist then proceed to check all the access lists for Mar-a-laago to confirm that Zhang was approved to be on property,” read the charge sheet. “The Receptionist confirmed that Zhang was not on any M ar-a-laago access list.”
She was then carted off for further questioning, where she revealed in an interview (during which she became verbally aggressive) that “her Chinese friend ‘Charles had 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.”
“In the course of Zhang’s investigative detention a total of four cellular telephones, one laptop computer, one external hard drive type device, and one thumb drive were found in her possession,” said the US charge sheet. “A preliminary forensic examination of the thumb drive determined it contained malicious malware.”
Zhang was not carrying any swim suits at the time of her detention, and she will reportedly remain in custody until a hearing next week.
She faces face a maximum of five years in prison if she is convicted.
The extraordinary account of the arrest of Zhang comes amid growing a growing trade war between the United States and China.
Chinese firm Huawei is also at the centre of a US campaign to get Western nations to use other equipment providers for their 5G networks, because of national security concerns about the networking giant.
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