A Washington state senator said he was arrested after landing at the Hong Kong International Airport for carrying a gun not registered in the city.
Jeff Wilson, a Republican from Longview, was taken into custody on Saturday at the airport while traveling with his wife on the first leg of a five-week vacation in Southeast Asia, according to his office and local media reports.
Wilson, 63, is charged with carrying a firearm without a license, according to the city’s public broadcaster RTHK.
The congressman, who has served in the state senate since 2021 and a Port of Longview commissioner since 2016, said he did not know his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland. He said “baggage screeners failed to note it.”
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Wilson appeared before Sha Tin Court on Monday and was granted bail, RTHK reported, and is due back in court on Oct. 30.
“Press accounts indicating that the weapon was discovered during a bag check are incorrect,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, he discovered the weapon mid-flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong, when he “reached into his briefcase for a piece of gum, and felt his unloaded revolver inside.”
When the plane landed, he said, he “immediately went to customs officials” and alerted them.
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‘An honest mistake’
Wilson called the incident “an honest mistake” and said he expected the case “to be resolved shortly.”
The senator said he was on a personal vacation “at his own expense.”
Wilson, who said he holds a concealed pistol license, said although the firearm was not registered in Hong Kong, it is registered in Washington state.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong International Airport could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY on Tuesday.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington Sen. Jeff Wilson arrested at Hong Kong airport with gun