Gun charge against state Sen. Jeff Wilson dropped by Hong Kong court


A court in Hong Kong dismissed a weapon charge against 19th District state Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, during a Monday morning court appearance, a little over a week after he accidentally brought a firearm in his carry-on luggage to the city.

Hong Kong is 15 hours ahead of Chehalis, meaning his 9 a.m. court appearance in Hong Kong occurred at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

“This was a mistake on my part, and I regret it,” Wilson said in a statement Sunday night. “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.”

The charges will be formally dismissed against Wilson if he commits no other violations in Hong Kong for two years.

According to a news release from Wilson, his passport was returned following his second court appearance, and he plans to resume a five-week trip throughout southeast Asia. 

According to Wilson, he discovered the unloaded firearm in his carry-on luggage mid-flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Upon landing in Hong Kong, Wilson alerted security.

Wilson initially flew from Portland to San Francisco and has noted the gun was not detected by the TSA check in Portland. Wilson did not go through security a second time while connecting in San Francisco.

After surrendering the firearm, Wilson was detained for three days until an initial court appearance. During the appearance, Wilson did not submit a plea and was granted bail of 20,000 Hong Kong dollars, equivalent to about $2,500.

“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.

Senate Republican Leader John Braun, who represents the 20th district, issued a statement following Wilson’s court appearance.

“We are all relieved that charges against Sen. Wilson have been dismissed and that he was treated fairly by the justice system in Hong Kong. We’ll be happy when he returns home and we’re grateful that he can continue to serve the people of his district,” Braun said in the statement.

Wilson took office in January 2021 and is the ranking member of the State Government and Elections Committee. Wilson also serves on the Housing, Human Services and Transportation committees. In September, Wilson announced he planned to seek reelection to the Senate in 2024.

Wilson is not acting in any legislative capacity during the privately funded trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

“When the next legislative session begins in January, I look forward to working on issues like salmon recovery, public records and affordable housing. I think we all can learn from what happened here. First, of course, to always check your carry-on baggage before you go through airport security,” Wilson said in the statement. “But more important, when you make a mistake like this one, the right thing to do is to show respect and accept responsibility.”