U.S. State Senator Jeff Wilson arrested in Hong Kong for having gun in carry-on bag
Hong Kong — A U.S. state senator was granted bail in Hong Kong on Monday shortly after he was arrested for having a pistol in his carry-on luggage during a flight to the city. Republican Jeff Wilson from Washington state said he was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and had a court hearing set for October 30.
Wilson was arrested at the Hong Kong airport Friday night after arriving on a flight from San Francisco.
“It was an honest mistake, and I expect the situation to be resolved shortly,” his office said in a statement Monday.
The state legislator said he did not realize his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through U.S. airport security and only discovered the unloaded weapon mid-flight.
Wilson said he reported the issue to customs officials after the plane landed.
Possession of arms or ammunition without a license in Hong Kong carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail and a HK$100,000 ($12,800) fine.
Wilson said he was travelling with his wife on a five-week personal vacation to Southeast Asia.
A Hong Kong magistrate on Monday granted Wilson’s bail, confiscated his travel documents, and ordered him not to leave the city, according to Hong Kong broadsheet Sing Tao Daily.
Washington state’s Senate Republican leader John Braun said he was watching the situation closely and hoped it would be resolved in a timely manner.
“We are learning about the incident with (Wilson) at the same time as the press and public here in America. As I understand it, this was an honest mistake,” Braun wrote in a statement.