The Chinese sports hero and his wife were handcuffed and removed from an Air China flight after the couple refused to disembark when the trip was canceled due to severe weather.
Chinese Super League Defender Li Lei learned the hard way that the privileges of celebrity have limits. Instead of receiving the customary VIP treatment, the 25-year-old soccer sensation and his wife were physically removed from their Air China flight by police after the pair reportedly exhibited some low-class behavior after learning that their flight would be canceled due to the weather.
According to the Daily Mail, the trouble started when the “it couple” refused to deplane after learning that their October 5th Air China flight which had already been delayed for more than five hours, would not be departing as scheduled. Things further escalated when police arrived and attempted to coax the stubborn passengers from the cabin.
Cellphone video of the encounter shows that the heated exchange turned physical as officers attempted to urge a handful of passengers to leave the long-since-canceled flight and return to the terminal. Police can be seen roughly forcing the star athlete’s wife from the plane as the sports hero becomes increasingly more agitated.
“What are you doing? Don’t touch me!” Lei is heard shouting at officers in a Chinese dialect. “Don’t touch my wife.” The soccer player later threatens police, shouting “You’re all going to lose your heads over this,” as he and his wife are led from the plane in handcuffs.
A statement from Air China seemed to acknowledge that emotions were understandably running high after a bizarre series of events that required passengers on the flight to deplane and be re-screened by security before eventually re-boarding a second time and then finally being told to exit the aircraft for good due to deteriorating weather conditions.
“While all passengers were waiting in the plane on the tarmac, one of them fell ill and requested to leave the plane, so the captain had to turn the plane back to the boarding gate and ask all the passengers to leave,” the airline said in a statement to local media outlets. “Passengers were also requested to go through security checks and board the plane again, which caused a long delay.”