A US state senator has been charged with possessing arms without a license after he was found with a revolver at Hong Kong airport.

jeff wilson senator
Washington state senator Jeff Wilson. File photo: Jeff Wilson, via Facebook.

Jeff Wilson, a Republican senator from Washington state, appeared at Shatin Magistrates’ Courts on Monday following his Saturday arrest. He was released on a cash bail of HK$20,000 and ordered to hand over his travel documents and not to leave Hong Kong, local media reported.

Sing Tao Daily reported that Wilson, as well as his wife and two men who were with him, got into an altercation with reporters who took photos of him as he was leaving the courthouse. The police were called, with Wilson’s group demanding reporters delete the photos saying Wilson had not consented to being photographed.

Police arrived on the scene to mediate, as Wilson and his wife threatened to photograph the reporters in retaliation.

Wilson is scheduled to appear at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts next Monday.

Hong Kong International Airport Covid-19 arrival travel
Inbound travellers in the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.

Carrying arms without a license is punishable by up to 14 years in jail and a fine of HK$100,000, but cases heard at magistrates courts see a maximum jail term of two years for a single offence.

Under the US Transportation Security Administration’s restrictions, firearms cannot be taken in carry-on bags on international or domestic flights. They can be checked in, but the carrier must ensure they are packed in a container and declared to the airline while checking in.

Elected to the Washington state Senate in 2020, Wilson campaigned on the back of lower taxes and opposition to a sex education bill.

Last year, the Washington state senate passed a bill Wilson had raised that made it easier for museums in Washington to receive guns from firearm collectors.

Wilson announced last month that he would run for re-election. His current term is set to end in 2025.

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Hillary Leung is a journalist at Hong Kong Free Press, where she reports on local politics and social issues, and assists with editing. Since joining in late 2021, she has covered the Covid-19 pandemic, political court cases including the 47 democrats national security trial, and challenges faced by minority communities.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hillary completed her undergraduate degree in journalism and sociology at the University of Hong Kong. She worked at TIME Magazine in 2019, where she wrote about Asia and overnight US news before turning her focus to the protests that began that summer. At Coconuts Hong Kong, she covered general news and wrote features, including about a Black Lives Matter march that drew controversy amid the local pro-democracy movement and two sisters who were born to a domestic worker and lived undocumented for 30 years in Hong Kong.