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August 19, 2019

HEAR IT: Flight instructor, assistant attempt to deport student to China (WARNING, GRAPHIC LANGUAGE)

May 28, 2018

A California flight instructor and his assistant are accused of kidnapping a student and trying to deport him to China.

Tianshu Shi, a pilot in training, told his brother in Shanghai last week that somebody was at his apartment “to take him away,” according to the Redding Police Department.

When Shi’s brother did not hear back from him, he called back and spoke to another flight student who said his brother had been assaulted and taken away.

“You’re going home, with or without your luggage,” a man had said to Shi, according to a recording made by the victim and obtained by the Record Searchlight newspaper.

A woman then speaks to Shi in Mandarin, but then switches to English, according to the recording: “If you cannot speak English, you are not going to be able to stay here.”

The man then tells Shi that he is in his custody, according to the newspaper: “Do you understand what in my custody means? Do you understand? It means I will forcibly remove you. If you want the police to come with guns, I got you on that. Alright? You ass is leaving right now. Let’s (profanity) go.”

Jonathan McConkey and assistant Kelsi Hoser were arrested Friday at the airport as they apparently tried to put Shi on a plane.

Jonathan McConkey and Kelsi Hoser were arrested Friday. (Redding Police Department)

Shi told the Record Searchlight that he is in the U.S. on a M-1 visa, which is good for one year. He has not been allowed to train for the last few months, but he believes that is because of his English.

“I can’t speak English well in life, but I can speak English well with air traffic control,” he told the newspaper.

McConkey and Hoser are facing charges of kidnapping and conspiracy.

“It’s ridiculous, they can’t treat us like this,” Shi’s roommate, who witnessed some of the ordeal, told the newspaper. “They treated [SHI] like an animal, not a human being.”

A second student at IASCO Flight Training in Redding told the newspaper that the program’s manager threatened to send him home to China because of a minor rules violation.

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