UCLA Basketballers Arrested in Hangzhou Ahead of Shanghai Game

By That's Shanghai, November 8, 2017

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Three American college basketball players from UCLA were reportedly arrested for shoplifting in Hangzhou, just days ahead of the Pac-12 China game against Georgia Tech University in Shanghai.

According to initial reports, freshmen athletes LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on Tuesday, November 7 and are under suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's Hangzhou hotel.

US media are reporting that 20 local police officers were called to the team hotel for both the UCLA Bruins and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Hangzhou on Tuesday morning to investigate an unknown issue. 

"They weren't messing around," a source told ESPN. "The kids were scared."

UCLA players in Hangzhou
UCLA players during practice in China

As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel notes, the three athletes in question face up to 10 years in Chinese prison — if standard practices are applied. According to Chinese law, “robbing public or private property using force, coercion, or other methods" is punishable by between three and 10 years in prison.

The three Bruins could also be detained for as long as a month before prosecutors even decide whether to press charges.

Following the reports, UCLA released a statement: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”

Georgia Tech also issued its own separate statement: “During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated."

In a statement posted to Twitter, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that he was "disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about."


One of the players, Ball, is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers star, Lonzo Ball. He's also the son of outspoken basketball sneaker entrepreneur LaVar Ball. The family is the subject of the reality show Ball in the Family, which airs on Facebook.

Ball in the Family
LaMelo, Lonzo, LaVar and LiAngelo Ball

LaVar Ball was reportedly planning on addressing the media from his Shanghai hotel this morning, though the press conference was later postponed; Ball was also advised by his council not to speak "due to the legal nature of the matter," according to ESPN senior writer Arash Markazi.

Both teams were scheduled to visit Shanghai Disneyland today and will play in a men's basketball season opener game at Shanghai's Baoshan Sports Center on Saturday, November 11.

[Images via TMZ Sports, SLAM, Twitter]

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