Zhang Yujing, the Chinese woman arrested on Saturday after allegedly trying to take an unusual number of electronic devices into US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, identified herself at a court hearing earlier this week as an investor and a consultant for a Shanghai private-equity business who appears to have amassed considerable wealth. Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Zhang told a magistrate judge that she owns a US$1.3 million house in China and drives a BMW, according to an audio recording of her first appearance at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach. A federal prosecutor at the hearing said Zhang poses an “extreme risk of flight” from the United States if she is released from custody. “She has no ties to the United States in general or to the Southern District of Florida in particular,” said the prosecutor, John McMillan. Nothing to see here: Trump calls Mar-a-Lago security breach a ‘fluke’ McMillan also claimed there were “security implications” that should prevent Zhang from making phone calls while detained. The FBI is investigating whether Zhang – who told US Secret Service agents she had travelled to Mar-a-Lago from Shanghai to attend a social event – was working as a Chinese intelligence operative, sources familiar with the inquiry told The Miami Herald . Her arrest at the president’s private club revitalised a wider ongoing federal investigation that had for several months examined potential Chinese espionage activities in South Florida. An affidavit attached to a criminal complaint said she was carrying four cellphones, a laptop, an external hard-drive and a thumb drive containing “malicious malware.” Details of the hearing were first reported by CNN. Zhang is charged with lying to a federal officer and entering restricted property. She has not been charged with any counts related to espionage. Chinese diplomatic officials in the United States say they are aware of Zhang’s arrest and offering help. During the April 1 hearing, Zhang asked sophisticated questions about how her case would proceed in terms of securing bond and hiring an attorney, which were relayed to the judge by her interpreter. Chinese firm offering to sell Trump access in focus after Mar-a-Lago arrest “You’re obviously very intelligent because your questions are excellent for a defendant in this situation,” remarked the judge, William Matthewman, who added that the 75-minute initial appearance was probably the longest that had ever taken place before him. While Zhang requested an interpreter, the Secret Service noted that she had exhibited a “detailed knowledge of, and ability to converse in and understand even subtle nuances of … the English language” during her interactions with agents at Mar-a-Lago. The affidavit submitted by a Secret Service agent stated that Zhang read a document out loud in English and would “question agents about the context of certain words throughout the form.” At the court hearing, Zhang named her employer as Shanghai Zhirong Asset Management, a private-equity business, but said she was paid on a “per project” basis and had made no money in 2019. She said she travels to the United States for business frequently enough to maintain a US bank account but believed the account did not hold more than US$5,000 and said she often brings cash on her trips. She said she had arrived in the country a short time before her arrest. “My savings are mainly in China,” Zhang told the court. Zhang will remain in custody pending a detention hearing Monday but Matthewman ruled she should be allowed to make domestic telephone calls to seek a private attorney. She ultimately chose to be represented by a federal public defender. Was Chinese woman arrested at Trump resort heading to Cindy Yang event? She told the court that her family lives in China and said she would like to make international calls and use the internet to contact relatives and friends, something the magistrate judge denied. She said that she opened the Wells Fargo bank account because she was looking for a “business partner” in the United States but nothing had panned out. Zhang showed up to Trump’s Palm Beach club around noon on Saturday asking to use the pool and was allowed through an initial Secret Service checkpoint, according to the criminal complaint. In the affidavit, a Secret Service agent wrote that “due to a potential language barrier issue,” Mar-a-Lago security believed Zhang was related to a club member with the same surname. But a receptionist soon realised she was not an approved guest. At that point, Zhang said she had been invited to attend a “United Nations Friendship Event” between China and the United States. While there was no function by that name on the social calendar, a Chinese-based group called the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association had promoted an event on that same day. Chinese woman accused of lying her way into Mar-a-Lago The function was one of two events originally scheduled to take place Saturday and promoted online by Cindy Yang, a South Florida massage parlour owner who also ran a business that promised Chinese business executives face time and photographs with Trump. Both events had been cancelled after the publication of a selfie Yang took with Trump.