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Prosecutors: Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago had device to spot cameras

Posted at 8:57 AM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 08:53:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A federal prosecutor said a Chinese woman arrested after briefly gaining admission to President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club had a device to detect hidden cameras in her hotel room when Secret Service agents searched it.

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Speaking at Yujing Zhang's bail hearing Monday in West Palm Beach, prosecutor Rolando Garcia said agents also found $8,000 in U.S. and Chinese currency in her room at the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach, along with nine USB drives, five USB cards, and several credit cards in her name.

Secret Service agents arrested the 32-year-old woman on March 30 after they said she gained admission by falsely telling a checkpoint she was a member and was going to swim.

Investigators said Zhang told a front desk clerk she was there for a nonexistent Chinese American event. She was arrested after agents said they found her carrying four cellphones, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive with computer malware installed.

A prosecutor said Zhang arrived in the U.S. on March 28 at Newark Liberty International Airport. She was given a travel visa which has now been revoked by the State Department.

Prosecutors said Zhang has no ties to South Florida, and it's unclear what her motive was. She previously visited the U.S. in Sept. 2018, Dec. 2017, and July 2016, according to prosecutors.

A public defender representing Zhang said when Secret Service agents interviewed Zhang at their West Palm Beach field office, they thought they were recording both video and audio, but later found out the room wasn't equipped to record audio.

Zhang is charged with lying to a federal agent and illegal entering.

The bond hearing was adjourned until next Monday, April 15. Zhang will be held on temporary pretrial detention with no bond until then. Zhang's arraignment is also scheduled for next Monday.

WPTV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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