Hong Kong court drops gun charge against WA state Sen. Jeff Wilson
(The Center Square) – A Hong Kong court dismissed a gun charge Monday against Washington state Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, who had been arrested after what he described as inadvertently carrying a gun into the Chinese territory.
Wilson’s passport was returned to him, allowing him to leave the country and continue his vacation in southeast Asia with his wife Trish.
The hearing took place Monday morning in Hong Kong, which was Sunday evening in the Pacific time zone.
Wilson explained at the time of the incident that he did not realize the firearm was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland, and baggage screeners failed to notice the weapon.
He discovered the gun on a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong upon reaching into his briefcase. When the plane landed, he immediately went to customs officials to alert them to the issue.
The senator was detained three days before his release on bail on Oct. 23.
“This was a mistake on my part, and I regret it,” Wilson said in a Sunday night news release. “I packed quickly and failed to check the contents of my briefcase. Over the Pacific, I reached into my briefcase for gum and felt my gun instead. My heart sank. I understood immediately what had happened, and that my only option was to report to the proper authorities, cooperate fully, and respect the laws of the land where my plane was about to touch down.”
Senate Republican Leader John Braun issued a statement following news of a Hong Kong court freeing Wilson after charges of an unlicensed weapon were dropped.
“We are all relieved that charges against Sen. Wilson have been dismissed and that he was treated fairly by the justice system in Hong Kong,” Braun said. “We’ll be happy when he returns home and we’re grateful that he can continue to serve the people of his district.”