A 20-year-old man who was arrested in connection with a robbery and assault in Rowland Heights was apprehended as he allegedly attempted to flee on an airplane at Los Angeles International Airport, authorities said.

Gangyi Zhang, a Chinese national, was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at LAX when he attempted to board a plane to China at about 10:45 p.m. June 4, a CBP spokesperson said.

CBP officers confirmed that Zhang was an exact match for a suspect named in a warrant issued approximately four hours earlier that day by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the CBP spokesperson said.

Zhang was arrested by Walnut Sheriff’s deputies after he and other unknown suspects got into an argument with a 26-year-old Pomona man in late March, said deputy Benjamin Grubb, Sheriff’s spokesman. The argument escalated and Zhang and the other suspects allegedly kicked and punched the victim repeatedly while stealing his wallet, Grubb said.

Zhang later posted bail and was due in court on June 4 but he reportedly did not appear, Grubb said.

The suspect, a student at a local university, purchased a “go-show” one-way ticket just prior to the plane’s scheduled departure without having a pre-existent reservation, according to CBP. He appeared to be aware of the warrant and was allegedly attempting to flee the U.S. when CBP intercepted him at the airline boarding gate, the agency said.

Zhang was turned over to the Los Angeles Airport Police for processing.

“This individual was taken into custody by CBP officers just hours after the warrant was issued, and moments from boarding a plane for China, and possibly outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement forever,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “This arrest highlights the excellent work that CBP does every day, behind the scenes, to keep the U.S. safe from dangerous people.”

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