Two flight training instructors from California have been arrested for attempting to kidnap and deport a foreign student. The duo told the student they were from the United States government and threatened him with both jail time and violence if he didn’t comply.
Jonathan McConkey is the certified flight instructor that allegedly thought up this devious scheme with his assistant, Kelsi Hoser. The team were working alongside several Chinese nationals who were in the country legally with student visas. The specific aviation school had a contract with China’s civil aviation authority to instruct the students how to fly.
One student, Tianshu Shi, was apparently disliked by the instructors for unknown reasons. He had been living in the United States for over seven months when the duo decided he needed to return to his home country. China had already paid the company $70,000 to train the student. They approached the student at his apartment and told him the government had requested his exit from the country. The student refused to go peacefully, so the duo allegedly assaulted him and threatened him with further violence. Shi quickly took out his cell phone are recorded the interaction.
Shi phoned his brother in Shanghai who then contacted the local Redding police. Police surrounded the instructing school’s airport and were able to save the student before the duo were able to get him aboard a plane.
Both McConkey and Hoser have been arrested. The team was charged with kidnapping and conspiracy. They each met a $100,000 bail and were released from Shasta County Jail.