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Washington state senator arrested in Hong Kong for carrying gun into city

Hong Kong: Washington state senator Jeff Wilson has been arrested in Hong Kong for carrying a gun into the city, according to a charge sheet seen by CNN. The politician called it an "honest mistake."

The US senator was on Saturday arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport and charged with possession of a firearm without a license, the charge sheet states, an offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison and a fine of more than USD 12,000.

Wilson appeared in the Sha Tin Magistrates' Court on Monday and was granted bail, according to public broadcaster (Radio Television Hong Kong) RTHK.
He said he did not realise he had packed his pistol in his briefcase while he and his wife were travelling 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.
Wilson said he "discovered the weapon mid-flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong."

He "did not realise his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland, and baggage screeners failed to note it," the statement added.
Wilson said in the statement that when the plane landed in Hong Kong, he "immediately went to customs officials and called their attention to the issue."
CNN has reached out to Portland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, the Transportation Security Administration, and the US Consulate in Hong Kong for comment.
Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department told CNN via email that it had no comment to make given that legal proceedings are underway.
As per RTHK, Wilson faces his next court hearing in Hong Kong on October 30.

Under Hong Kong's strict gun control laws, no one is allowed to possess any arms or ammunition unless they have a licence from the Commissioner of Police. Licences are only given to police officers, armed security guard services, and operators of exclusive shooting range clubs.
Gun violence is very rare in Hong Kong, unlike in the United States where firearms are now the No. 1 killer of children and teens.
Meanwhile, in the Washington state, people are allowed to carry for both long guns and handguns without a licence which means individuals can carry a firearm in many public areas, although private property owners may prohibit firearms on their property. However, a license is needed to carry concealed firearms in the state.
As per Wilson, his pistol was registered in Washington state and he holds a concealed pistol license, CNN reported.

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