A gun charge against a Washington state senator has been dismissed by a Hong Kong court. The senator, Republican Jeff Wilson, admitted to carrying the gun at the airport on October 21, claiming it was an “honest mistake.” The prosecution noted that Wilson has a clean criminal record in Hong Kong and made his admission openly. Principal Magistrate Don So approved a bind-over order instead of a plea for possessing an unlicensed firearm, expressing belief in Wilson’s innocence.
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This photo shows Washington state Sen. Jeff Wilson covering himself as he arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates Courts in Hong Kong, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. ((AP Photo/Vernon Yuen))
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The bind-over order requires Wilson to maintain peace and avoid committing further firearms offenses for two years. If he fails to comply, he will be fined 2,000 Hong Kong dollars ($255) for violating the order. Since the case didn’t result in a conviction, Wilson is free to leave Hong Kong. A statement on his website mentioned that although the gun was not registered in Hong Kong, it is registered in Washington.
Hong Kong has stricter gun laws compared to the United States, with fines of up to 100,000 Hong Kong dollars ($12,800) and prison sentences of up to 14 years for carrying a firearm without a license.
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According to Wilson’s website, he and his wife were on a five-week vacation in Southeast Asia. He discovered the gun during his flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. In an earlier interview with a customs inspector, Wilson described it as “a horrible accident” and mentioned that his luggage had already passed security in Portland before his transit in San Francisco.
In a statement published on his website, Wilson expressed relief that the matter could be efficiently resolved and apologized for the concern he caused. He admitted to packing quickly and failing to thoroughly check the contents of his briefcase, acknowledging his mistake.