Trump Asks China's President To Help Resolve UCLA Shoplifting Case

Saul Bowman
November 16, 2017

Three UCLA men's basketball players accused of shoplifting in China returning to the U.S.

The three, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley and LiAngelo Ball - younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball - also apologized to their families and their school, while thanking the Chinese cops for treating them well.

The players landed at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Shanghai on Tuesday evening.

Ball, Riley and Hill were allowed to leave China after the situation was "resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities", said Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12 athletic conference, of which UCLA is a member.

The UCLA basketball freshmen were arrested November 7 morning local time in Hangzhou, China. The guys were arrested last Tuesday on shoplifting charges at three designer stores at a mall next to to their hotel, including Louis Vuitton sunglasses.

The players reportedly will be speaking to the media Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT.

Their visit to China overlapped with President Donald Trump's, and the president encouraged his Chinese counterpart to pardon and release the players. He said the trio, who had been held since last week, could have faced long prison sentences. "They do not play games".

Trump on Wednesday morning said the players should be grateful for his involvement. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players and spoken with UCLA Coach Steve Alford, and Kelly remains in contact with Chinese authorities, the official added.

"I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law", UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.

The incident began when local police were called to the hotel where both teams were staying and inspected UCLA's bus as players waited to depart for practice, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He said such proceedings would be confidential.

LiAngelo Ball is back in the U.S.

During questioning, Ball, Hill and Riley were accompanied by interpreters and UCLA team representatives, before being released on bail.

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