Award Banner
Award Banner

US state senator acquitted of illegal firearms possession in Hong Kong

US state senator acquitted of illegal firearms possession in Hong Kong
US Washington state senator Jeff Wilson leaves the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts, in Hong Kong, China Oct 30, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong court acquitted US State Senator Jeff Wilson of illegally possessing a firearm in the Chinese-ruled city as long as he doesn't commit any crime for the next two years.

Wilson, a member of the Washington State Senate representing the 19th district, was arrested in Hong Kong on Oct 21 when he arrived at the airport with a pistol in his carry-on luggage. A Republican party member, he has served in the state senate since 2021 and is also a Port of Longview Commissioner.

Hong Kong Principal Magistrate Don So acquitted Wilson of illegal firearms possession and ordered to pay a cash fee of HKD$2,000 (S$350), along with the "bind-over order" that requires Wilson to engage in good behaviour and keep the peace for two years.

So said he was inclined to believe that Wilson did not deliberately break the law.

"This is not the first time he came to Hong Kong or China, he used to be a trade delegate to Hong Kong and China. He should have known that the scrutiny in Hong Kong and China is strict," So said.

Wilson was travelling with his wife on the first leg of a five week vacation in Southeast Asia. He did a self declaration of arms at customs and he brought a revolver by mistake, the court was told.

He did not realise his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland in the US and baggage screeners failed to detect it, he said in a statement on his website.

The weapon was discovered 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, the statement said.

Carrying a firearm without a license in Hong Kong is illegal and offenders can face up to HK$100,000 and a maximum of 14 years in prison.

ALSO READ: Senator Schumer starts China trip amid tension with US, hopes to meet Xi

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.