Arrested UCLA Players Leave China After Trump Asks Xi for Help

By That's Shanghai, November 15, 2017

1 0

The three UCLA college basketball players arrested for shoplifting last week left China Tuesday evening, the Wall Street Journal reports. President Donald Trump directly intervened in their return, personally lobbying Chinese President Xi Jinping for their release.

Freshmen Bruins players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were spotted at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) checking into a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight departing at approximately 9pm yesterday, according to the WSJ

Upon arrival in California, Ball, Riley and Hill were swarmed by reporters at LAX, though they didn't answer any questions from the press.

Arrested UCLA Players Leave China After Trump Asks Xi for Help

Arrested UCLA Players Leave China After Trump Asks Xi for Help
The players arrive in LA

The Washington Post reported that Trump had raised the matter with Xi during his visit to Beijing last week.

"They're working on it right now," Trump told reporters in Manila on Tuesday, just hours before the trio were spotted boarding their flight in Shanghai. He added that Xi had "been terrific" in helping resolve the case.

Trump and Xi meet in China
Trump and Xi met in Beijing last week.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott also confirmed the return, saying that the issue had been "resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities."

It is unclear what punishment the trio face from the school, though a press conference will be held at UCLA tomorrow. 

The rest of the team returned to the United States on Sunday via a flight bound for Los Angeles.

Just days before the Pac-12 China game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, Ball, Riley and Hill were arrested in Hangzhou on Tuesday, November 7 under suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel. None of them were present during the Bruins' 63-60 win over the Yellow Jackets at Baoshan Sports Center on Saturday, November 11.

UCLA Georgia Tech

UCLA defeated Georgia Tech 63-60 during the men's college basketball game in Shanghai this weekend

According to ESPN, the players were released on bail on the morning of Wednesday, November 8 and were under house arrest in Hangzhou.

As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel noted last week, the athletes potentially faced up to 10 years in Chinese prison. 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. 

Alibaba, the game's presenting sponsor, was also said to be assisting the investigation. The two teams were touring the company's headquarters in Hangzhou last week.

Commenting on the incident before the game on Saturday, Alibaba executive vice chairman and co-founder Joseph Tsai said:

"Every young person makes mistakes, but the key point is how they will handle it after making the mistake. I think sometimes things can be very complicated, and the last couple of days I've seen firsthand professionalism on all sides."

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 last week, 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.

According to ESPN, the Ball family was filming the show while in Shanghai. They were scheduled to stay in China until Sunday before traveling to Hong Kong for a pop-up event for the shoe brand, Big Baller Brand (BBB).

[Images via ABC 7RamblinWreck, SLAM, Twitter]

more news

UCLA Basketball Team Returns to US without 3 Players Arrested for Shoplifting

A source tells ESPN LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill could remain in China for another one or two weeks.

Shoplifting Basketball Players Suspended by UCLA after China Exit

The three American college basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting last week apologized in a press conference.

Trump to UCLA Players Arrested in China: 'You're Welcome'

US President Donald Trump tweets that the UCLA college basketball players arrested in China should 'give Xi Jinping a big thank you.'

UCLA Basketballers Arrested in Hangzhou Ahead of Shanghai Game

Three UCLA college basketball players were reportedly arrested in Hangzhou for shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store.

Tickets for Pac-12 China Game UCLA vs Georgia Tech On Sale Now

The prestigious collegiate basketball season kicks off in China for the third year running.

China's Donald Trump Rooster Statue is Now Available on Taobao

When the rooster crows, start wrapping bows.

WIN! Tickets to Pac-12 China Basketball Game

We've got a pair of tickets to give away to the Pac-12 men's basketball game between UCLA and Georgia Tech in Shanghai this weekend.

WATCH: Unruly Trump Fan Delays Shanghai Flight to US

United Airlines flight from Shanghai to Newark delayed for five hours and diverted to San Francisco after an unruly passenger in a 'Make America Great Again' hat caused a scene and had to be booted from the plane.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.