The Miami Herald is reporting that a Chinese woman has been detained by the Secret Service after trying to enter Mar-a-Lago in order to attend an event that may have been advertised on social media by Li “Cindy” Yang, the South Florida massage parlor owner who offered clients access to President Donald Trump and members of his family for a fee.
According to prosecutor’s documents filed in court, the woman, identified as 32-year-old Yujing Zhang, briefly gained access to the club owned by President Donald Trump over the weekend while the president was staying there, although she was never in close proximity to Trump himself. Although he was staying at the resort over the weekend, at the time of the incident he was playing golf elsewhere.
Zhang allegedly approached a Secret Service agent stationed outside the club, showed him a passport, and told him she was a club member and wanted to go swimming. The Secret Service says that while Zhang’s name didn’t appear on the club’s membership list, a club manager mistakenly believed she was the daughter of one of the club members, and that due to some confusion having to do with a language barrier, she was admitted to the club.
Shortly thereafter, Zhang was detained and found to be carrying four cell phones, a laptop, an external hard drive, a thumb drive, and two passports. According to the prosecutor’s charging documents, a preliminary investigation by the Secret Service revealed that the thumb drive was loaded with “malicious malware.” She did not have a swimsuit with her.
Upon further questioning, Zhang told the agents she had come from Shanghai to attend a “United Nations Friendship Event” between China and the U.S., and that during the event she planned to speak with the president and members of his family about economic relations between the two nations.
And while there was no such U.N. event scheduled there that day, Zhang may have been referring to one of two events that were scheduled by Yang for that day at the resort.
According to reporting in Politico, agents said that Zhang became argumentative and that they removed her from the resort to a Secret Service office. There the agents say that it became apparent that Zhang actually speaks and reads English well. She further claimed that she had traveled to the U.S. for the purported U.N. event after being invited by an acquaintance she met on Chinese social media whom she knew only as “Charles.”
Zhang also denied that she was the woman who initially told agents she was a club member wanting to take a swim. She remains in custody facing charges of making false statements to a federal agent and illegally entering the restricted property.