Senator Gets Arrested in China Airport

( – A US state senator was arrested in a Chinese airport for traveling with a firearm in his carry-on bag. The lawmaker, who has the weapon fully registered in the United States, claims he packed it by accident and turned it into authorities as soon as he could. The US Transportation Security Administration is currently investigating the incident.

Washington State Sen. Jeff Wilson (R) was taken into custody on October 20 for bringing an unloaded handgun into Hong Kong. The weapon, although legal for the lawmaker to carry in the US, wasn’t registered in China, making it illegal.

Wilson denies any memory of packing the firearm, stating that he only realized he had it on him when he searched his bag during the flight for a piece of gum. Portland International Airport, where the Washington senator passed through security, had a record of the weapon legally moving through the site. He transferred in San Francisco before heading to Hong Kong, and he didn’t have to clear a second security checkpoint, so the weapon wasn’t flagged in connection to the international flight. The senator alleges, according to NBC News, that he informed customs authorities about the gun as soon as the plane landed, rejecting outside claims that Chinese officials found the gun during a bag check.

The Standard, a Hong Kong publication, states that Wilson paid HK$20,000 (roughly $ 2557 USD) in bail. He also had to surrender his passport and will need to remain in Hong Kong until his hearing, set to occur on October 30.

Wilson and his wife had planned a five-week vacation that would have begun in China and included stops in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The senator, a Longview port commissioner, was also supposed to meet with officials at the port of Shanghai, although he wasn’t technically traveling on official business.

The Seattle Times writes that people pushing travel laws with their firearms is nothing new, but it has become a serious problem in recent years.

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