U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., March 22, 2019. Picture: REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUE
U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., March 22, 2019. Picture: REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUE

Beijing — Chinese diplomats have contacted a woman arrested at US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and offered her consular services, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The woman was arrested on Saturday at Trump’s resort after attempting to gain access while carrying several cell phones and a thumb drive containing malware, court documents revealed.

The US president was staying at the Florida resort at the time.

Zhang Yujing was arrested and charged with making false statements to federal officers and knowingly entering a restricted building — which Mar-a-Lago becomes while Trump is in residence.

The Chinese Consulate General in Houston was notified of the arrest and “contacted the person concerned” to provide assistance, foreign ministry spokessperson Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing on Thursday, without offering details.

An arrest document in the federal district court of Palm Beach said Zhang first presented herself as a member and said she was headed to the pool — despite not having a swimsuit.

She then claimed to be attending a non-existent Chinese-American friendship event.

After she was detained, Zhang said she had been asked by a Chinese friend named Charles to attend the event and try to speak with a member of the president’s family about US-China economic relations, the document said.

The woman carried two passports from the People’s Republic of China, according to the US Secret Service, which arrested her.

Trump owns the luxurious beachside club in the wealthy Atlantic coast city of Palm Beach, and travels there frequently on weekends to play golf and meet friends. He keeps a residence in a private area of the club, but was reportedly golfing at a nearby course around the time Zhang was there.

Two events had been recently advertised at Mar-a-Lago for Saturday by a local Chinese-American businesswoman, Cindy Yang, on Chinese language social media, the Miami Herald said.

Yang is a Mar-a-Lago member who built and later sold a chain of massage parlours in Florida, which were recently raided by police over prostitution.

In recent years she has promoted herself as a path of access to the US president, and Yang’s website featured pictures of her with Trump, his family and officials.

The Herald also said an event promoter who Yang worked with was named Charles Lee.

AFP