Washington state Senator Jeff Wilson, a Republican from Longview, was arrested in Hong Kong for carrying an unregistered firearm, according to his website and local media reports. Wilson had arrived at Hong Kong International Airport on Saturday while on a five-week vacation in Southeast Asia with his wife.
The statement on his website clarified that the firearm was registered in Washington but not in Hong Kong, leading to his arrest. He was subsequently released on bail on Monday and appeared in court to face charges of possession of arms without a license. His next hearing is scheduled for October 30.
Wilson expressed that the situation was “an honest mistake” and expected a swift resolution.
Following his court appearance, Wilson had to surrender his travel documents, as reported by local newspaper The Standard. The next hearing will take place at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts.
Under Hong Kong law, carrying a firearm without a license is illegal, with potential fines of up to 100,000 Hong Kong dollars ($12,800) and sentences of up to 14 years for convictions. However, the Magistrates’ Courts typically handle such cases with a maximum two-year sentence, according to the judiciary’s website.
Wilson’s website noted that he had discovered the firearm during his flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong and promptly reported it to customs authorities upon landing.