Chinese woman in possession of ‘malicious malware’ arrested at Mar-a-Lago

BTW

A woman with two Chinese passports and a device carrying malware is in custody and charged with lying to federal agents after attempting to gain access to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the Guardian reports.

Yujing Zhang was granted entry to the resort after approaching a Secret Service agent at a checkpoint and claiming she was a member headed for a swim. Although she was not on the membership list, the 32-year-old was mistaken by a club manager as the daughter of a member and allowed in.

When inside, Zhang came to the attention of reception staff after saying she was at the resort for a non-existent United Nations Chinese American Association event set to take place that night.

Suspicious staff called in Secret Service agents. When they arrived, Zhang told another agent a third story about how she was onsite to take pictures ahead of a Chinese-American event. 

After she became confrontational, Zhang was arrested and taken off the grounds for questioning, where she revealed that her only contact in the U.S. was a man called “Charles” she’d been communicating with via a Chinese social media app. Agents found Zhang to be in possession of four cell phones, a laptop with an external hard drive, and a USB pen drive containing “malicious malware.”

There were not further details on the malware, but federal prosecutors did note in the court documents that Zhang did not have a swimsuit, apparently contradicting her initial story.

Interestingly, there was no mention of Li Yang in the filings. The former Florida massage parlor owner who ran a consulting business boasting access to Trump for Chinese clients and worked with a Chinese event promoter named Charles Lee, who has the same first name as Zhang’s contact.

Zhang remains in custody ahead of a court hearing next week.

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David Gilmour

David Gilmour

David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.