A state senator in Washington was arrested in Hong Kong after trying to bring a gun into the country, reports CNN. Jeff Wilson, a Republican representing the mostly-rural 19th district between Tacoma and Portland, Oregon, was collared at Hong Kong International Airport and charged with possession of a firearm without a license. The offense is reportedly punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but he “expects the situation to be resolved shortly,” he says.
The Republican state senator, whose full name is Stephen J. Wilson, said he did not realize he had packed his pistol in his briefcase while he and his wife were traveling for a five-week vacation to Southeast Asia, according to a statement posted on his website.
“It was an honest mistake. And I expect the situation to be resolved shortly,” Wilson said in the statement. …
Under Hong Kong’s strict gun control laws, no one is allowed to possess any arms or ammunition unless they have a license from the Commissioner of Police. Licenses are only given to police officers, armed security guard services and operators of exclusive shooting range clubs.
A good reminder that airport security is theater: Portland airport’s TSA let him on a flight with a gun.
According to local media, Wilson got into an altercation with news reporters outside the courthouse there after he posted bail.
Sing Tao Daily reported that Wilson, as well as his wife and two men who were with him, got into an altercation with reporters who took photos of him as he was leaving the courthouse. The police were called, with Wilson’s group demanding reporters delete the photos saying Wilson had not consented to being photographed.
Police arrived on the scene to mediate, as Wilson and his wife threatened to photograph the reporters in retaliation.
Wilson is scheduled to appear at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts next Monday.
They published the photos here in a story whose headline reads, in English, “U.S. senator granted bail over immigration charges”. As translated by Google:
63-year-old Washington State Senator Stephen Jeff Wilson arrived in Hong Kong by plane last Saturday. When customs inspected his luggage, he discovered that he had an unlicensed revolver in his possession. He was charged with one count of possession of firearms without a license. The case was brought up for the first time at Shatin Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. Magistrate Shui Jiali adjourned the case to next Monday (30th) at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts for another hearing. The defendant was allowed to go out on bail of NT$20,000 in cash pending trial. During the period, he must surrender his travel documents and is not allowed to leave Hong Kong. There was an episode when the defendant and his wife were leaving the court. They were dissatisfied with being filmed by reporters, and immediately criticized and asked to delete it. In the end, the police had to come to the scene to mediate. …
After the defendant and his wife left the court building yesterday afternoon, media reporters took photos of the defendant as usual. However, the defendant, his wife and two male relatives and friends immediately scolded the reporters and asked them to delete the photos, saying that they did not agree to be photographed and that the reporters had no right. Use the relevant photos, and you are not allowed to use mobile phones to forward the photos, and call the police.
After the police arrived, the defendant and his wife argued that filming should not be allowed in public areas outside the court. After the police intervened, the four of them stood outside the court door and claimed to take photos of reporters.