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US state senator arrested at Hong Kong airport on gun charges

Washington state senator Jeff Wilson called it an "honest mistake," according to documents related to his arrest.
US state senator arrested at Hong Kong airport on gun charges
Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 24, 2023

U.S. state Senator Jeff Wilson from Washington was arrested in Hong Kong on Friday, charged with carrying a firearm without a proper license for the jurisdiction. 

Wilson called the incident an "honest mistake," according to a statement he made. 

The American politician was beginning a five-week vacation for personal reasons, traveling to Southeast Asia after departing from the U.S.

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The TSA is now investigating the incident after Wilson appeared at the Sha Tin Magistrate's Court on Monday in Hong Kong, according to a report from public outlet RTHK

The report said Wilson was arrested at Hong Kong's International Airport after customs officers say they found a gun in his luggage. 

Wilson was granted bail at the court appearance and was ordered to return to court on Oct. 30. 

Wilson said in his statement that he expected "the situation to be resolved shortly."

According to the state senator, he discovered he was in possession of the weapon during the flight as he traveled between San Francisco and Hong Kong. Wilson said in a statement that he "did not realize" his gun was still in a briefcase he was carrying after he passed through airport security in Portland, Oregon.

Wilson said airport security there did not detect the firearm. 

According to Wilson, he said as soon as he landed in Hong Kong he immediately went to customs agents to make them aware of his mistake. 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it was aware that "a passenger on a flight departing from Portland International Airport Saturday, passed through security and traveled with an unloaded firearm in his carry-on bag," according to reports. The TSA confirmed an arrest was made and said the security agency "takes this situation very seriously and is currently investigating" as well. 

The TSA said, "The penalty for bringing a firearm to a TSA checkpoint may be as high as $15,000, and those stopped are ineligible for TSA PreCheck for up to five years."

Wilson said his pistol is registered in Washington state and said he has a concealed firearm license. 

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