UCLA basketball players — LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and James Hill — have been detained for the last week in China in suspicion for shoplifting. However, they have been released and are now on their way home according to the Pac-12.
The players boarded a flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles early Monday morning and were expected to arrive back home around 5 p.m. local time.
The release of the three freshman came a few hours after President Donald Trump said he talked with China President Xi Jinping regarding the issue.
“They’re working on it right now,” Trump told reporters yesterday in the Philippines as he prepared to return to Washington after a nearly two-week visit to Asia that included an earlier stop in Beijing. “He’s been terrific,” Trump said, in an apparent reference to Xi.
The Pac-12 has also been caught up in the middle of this issue as UCLA is a member of their conference. Conference commissioner Larry Scott said:
“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. We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities. We also want to acknowledge UCLA’s significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes. Finally, we want to thank the President, the White House and the U.S. State Department for their efforts towards resolution.”
This whole incident started last week when the players were questioned about stealing a pair of Louis Vuitton glasses from a store near their hotel in Hangzhou. This happened right before the Bruins faced Georgia Tech on Saturday.
A trusted ESPN source said that the security footage did show the players shoplifting from a high end shopping center with stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo.