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June 27, 2017

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U.S. police officer discovers pistol in bag on arrival in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A policewoman from California has been stranded in Taiwan since she reported that she had inadvertently brought a firearm and some ammunition in her bag on a flight that landed at Taoyuan International Airport on Thursday, authorities said.

The Aviation Police Bureau said the American police officer reported the matter to members of the airport's ground staff after discovering the handgun and six rounds of ammunition in her carry-on bag.

The policewoman, identified as Nell Grant, handed over the pistol and ammunition and showed her badge as proof of her identity as a member of the California State Police, the authorities said.

Grant said she had forgotten to take the weapon out of her bag before boarding the plane in Los Angeles and added that she did not know why it had not been detected during her departure at the U.S. airport.

She was in transit in Taiwan on her way to Thailand, traveling with a female friend and two minors, who have postponed their connecting flight to stay with her.

As a passenger who was not authorized to carry a weapon, Grant faces charges of violating Taiwan's Criminal Code and laws on the control of firearms and ammunition.

At her request, the American Institute in Taiwan -- the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei -- has helped her find a lawyer as the Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office has begun work on the case.

Grant has been told by prosecutors not to leave the country pending the investigation. It is not known how long the investigation will last.

The maximum penalty for bringing an authorized firearm to an air terminal is two years in prison under Taiwan's firearms control act.

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