Chinese woman arrested for entering Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort with malicious software

Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island, Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Mar-a-Lago is Palm Beach's grandest mansion with 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms. The building was built in 1927 by Joseph Urban and Marion Wyeth.
Photo credit: Getty

A Chinese woman who got through security checkpoints at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida carrying a thumb drive coded with "malicious" software has been arrested for entering a restricted property and making false statements to officials.

Documents filed by the Secret Service on Monday in United States District Court say shortly after noon on Saturday, Yujing Zhang approached a Secret Service agent screening visitors to Mar-a-Lago seeking entrance to the club.

Zhang produced two Chinese passports displaying her photo and said she wanted to go to the pool but Secret Service officers could not find her name on an access list, according to the Secret Service affidavit.

A club manager said a man named Zhang was a club member, and even though Yujing Zhang did not give a clear answer as to whether the man was her father, the Secret Service affidavit says resort officials allowed her on the property on the assumption she was related to a member.

Zhang initially said she was there for an event staged by a group called the United Nations Chinese American Association, but no such event was planned.

A receptionist then contacted Secret Service personnel who questioned Zhang and concluded she did not have "any legitimate documentation" authorising her entry to Mar-a-Lago, according to the filing.

After detaining her, investigators found in Zhang's possession four phones, a laptop, an external hard drive device and a thumb drive, the Secret Service court filing says. Initial examination of the thumb drive determined it contained "malicious malware," the Secret Service said.

The White House referred questions on the incident to the Secret Service on Tuesday, but the Secret Service declined to comment.

In a court filing on Tuesday, a public defender representing Zhang said she was invoking her right to remain silent.

Reuters