PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Hong Kong court has formally dismissed the criminal charge filed against Wash. Sen. Jeff Wilson for landing at the Hong Kong Airport with a handgun on Oct. 20, the Washington State Senate Republican Caucus said.
Wilson was arrested at the airport by Honk Kong police after he allegedly forgot to remove an unloaded handgun from his carry-on briefcase before passing through the security checkpoint at Portland International Airport and boarding a connecting flight to Hong Kong in San Francisco. The Longview senator said that he discovered the gun while reaching into his briefcase for a stick of gum during his flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong and turned himself in to customs officials after the flight landed.
“This was a mistake on my part, and I regret it,” Wilson said in a statement. “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.”
Wilson was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm. The senator said that the gun is properly registered in the state of Washington, but not in Hong Kong. He remained in custody for three days before he was released on bail Oct. 23, a week ahead of his scheduled court hearing.
“The Chinese authorities conducted themselves in a professional manner, and I commend them for their diligence,” Wilson said. “The mistake, after all, was fully mine. I am relieved we were able to resolve this matter efficiently, and I want to apologize for the concern I created.”
Following Wilson’s arrest, the Transportation Security Administration told KOIN 6 News that it is actively investigating how the gun passed through its PDX security checkpoint undetected.