A flight school instructor and his assistant were arrested at an airport Friday after they allegedly kidnapped one of their students and tried to deport him back to China.
21-year-old Tianshu Shi recorded audio from the alleged attack by Jonathan McConkey and his assistant, Kelsi Hoser, who both work for IASCO Flight Training in Redding, Calif. Shi said the two employees came to his home on Thursday night and told him he would be “shipped back” to China the next day.
He later provided the graphic audio recording to authorities.
“I’ve got your f***ing passport, you’re leaving now,” a male says in the audio recording. “I’m not f***ing with you. Let’s go. Don’t f*** with me.”
At one point, Shi appears to ask his instructor if he is being threatened.
“Your a** is getting on a plane right now — I’ll break your f***ing arm. You’d better believe I’m threatening you,” the male voice says.
A female voice adds:
“You are here illegal, you know that? If you don’t go with us, you go to jail.”
Shi told police that his university reportedly paid $70,000 for his instruction at IASCO, which is in contract with China’s civil aviation authority for pilot training services.
“If you cannot speak English, you are not going to be able to stay here,” she says.
Shi had reportedly been in the United States for just seven months on an M-1 visa when the shocking incident occurred.
“The United States government needs you out of this country right now, you understand?” the man asks.
Shi was fearful and agreed to get in the car with his instructor, police said. The Los Angeles Times reports that Shi managed to contact his brother in China who spoke to one of Shi’s flight school classmates and confirmed the apparent kidnapping.
While at Redding Municipal Airport, the flight instructors told police that they had organized the deportation because Shi’s English was not up to par for communicating safely with air traffic controllers, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“At that moment, police is my Jesus,” Shi said after his rescue. “I can’t speak English well in life, but I can speak English well with air traffic control,” he said in an interview with Searchlight Recording.
McConkey and Hoser were arrested and both charged with kidnapping. They each have been released on bail.
Take a look at their mugshots below along with others from recent arrests.