UCLA players back in the USA after alleged thievery in China

SANTA MONICA – After a week of being confined in their hotel in Hangzhou, China, the three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting were allowed to return to the United States.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were arrested for shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store on Nov. 7, and were potentially facing 3-10 years under Chinese law. The incident happened while the team was in China for an exhibition game against Georgia Tech on Friday. The UCLA Bruins had arrived in China earlier to visit the headquarter of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. who sponsored the game. The three freshmen were not on the team’s flight back to Los Angeles on the Saturday following the game.

After the players had been detained and questioned, they were released on bail and awaited further legal action in their hotel. Luckily for them, U.S. President Donald Trump was in China for a state visit from Nov. 8 – 10 and had brought up the issue to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner.

“I will tell you when I heard about it, two days ago I had a great conversation with President Xi.” Trump said. “What they did was very unfortunate, you know you’re talking about very long prison sentences, they do not play games. He was terrific and they’re working on it right now,” President Donald Trump told reporters.

Soon after, the charges were then dropped and the players were seen boarding their 12 hour flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles. Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott released a statement confirming their release.  

“The three UCLA men’s basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China, are on a flight back home to Los Angeles, and the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities. We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university.”

It is now up to UCLA what punishment the three will receive.

Video posted on YouTube.  Photo courtesy of Reuters (HMGI).

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