UCLA basketball players suspected of shoplifting in China confined to hotel

FILE PHOTO:    High School Basketball: Tarkanian Classic
FILE PHOTO: Dec 16, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chino Hills Huskies guard LiAngelo Ball (3) dribbles against the defense of Clark Chargers forward Jalen Hill (21) on the second day of the Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High School. Chino Hills won the game 91-87. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

November 9, 2017

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Three UCLA men’s basketball players, detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, have been confined to their hotel pending legal proceedings, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The three students – freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – were taken into police custody on Tuesday morning for questioning and released at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, one of the sources said.

Ball, the younger brother of National Basketball Association rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, declined to comment when reached by phone at his hotel on Wednesday. The others could not be reached.

The University of California, Los Angeles, team is in China for its season-opener against Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai.

Ball, Riley and Hill were questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store during the team’s visit to Hangzhou, home of the game’s sponsor, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The sources said police had released the three on condition that they remain at their luxury hotel in Hangzhou while the legal process plays out. It was not made clear, however, how long that would take.

“There is a lot of uncertainty around how long they will need to be in that position before there’s some update on the situation,” said one of the sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Chinese authorities have up to 37 days to decide whether to pursue official approval for a formal arrest, Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey who researches China’s legal system, told the Los Angeles Times.

An arrest would prompt an investigation that could take up to two additional months before prosecutors bring formal charges, Lewis told the newspaper.

From there, the process could stretch out much longer, and convictions are a near certainty in Chinese courts, which are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

Often, however, China will deport foreigners suspected of having committed relatively minor offences without going through the whole process.

The U.S. State Department and UCLA Athletics officials declined to address how long legal proceedings might take.

A U.S. State Department official said the department was aware of reports of three American citizens being arrested in China and stood ready to provide assistance but had no further comment due to privacy considerations.

The Chinese government reported the incident to U.S. officials, Chinese foreign ministry officials have previously said.

In Beijing on Thursday, Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss trade, North Korea and other topics. A White House official said the issue of the detained players did not come up between Trump and Xi.

In a video posted Wednesday on Twitter by ESPN writer Arash Markazi, LaVar Ball said his son LiAngelo would be fine.

The players will not play in Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, UCLA Athletics spokeswoman Shana Wilson said.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch in Shanghai, Matt Spetalnick in Beijing and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Bernadette Baum)

  • Dwayne Cantrell

    I hope these punks get locked up . Disgrace to the American people.

  • GBWO

    Time to pay the piper, that be the Chinese piper.

  • Mark Heinzen

    Young and dumb.

  • Jeff Hill

    If Obama had three sons

  • tired

    The Chinese hold blacks with low regard,they were just trying their best to keep it going.

    • GBWO

      That is a fact, look how they treated prince obolo when he showed up, they didn’t even give him the stairs so he could do his fairy stair ballet.

  • Living_The_Dream

    They need to be punished in accordance to Chinese law. A good “flogging” with a bamboo cane may prevent them from ever stealing again. . . . . . that is if they are guilty.

  • FoolIggy

    Just another group of amateur athletes on their way to the big bad professional league.

    These kids are taught from pop warner that athletes that their talent ALWAYS gets them a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD and a ‘free pass’ from their lack of taking responsibility for their actions!

    Plus, if America’s pampered athletes aren’t required to respect themselves and their own country, WHY would anyone expect them to respect anyone else’s country?

    Maybe a little time in a Chinese jail and these boys will have a story to tell about just how lucky they were to be born in the USA!

    Any jail outside of America will quickly demonstrate to an inmate they have NO RIGHTS, NO VOICE, and lawyers who can get them a ‘get out of jail free card’ are really hard to come by.

  • shafawn

    How stupid can you get?
    How stupid is there?

  • Scott

    In Calif you shoplift and have NO problem that is liberal law so long as it does not go over amount do calif set limit then punishment is limited if you do go over it liberals for you. But it supports the game of shoplifting but in other counties the Business cannot afford it and teaches the young less respect to others and big one to them self. Honesty is not taught in Schools they are run by Democrats.

    I would like to know if there is video of them shoplifting. If so they should serve sometime is a China jail it would be a less for them and experiences. You do not disrespect another country laws and property. Being in a China jail is not like being here its old type of jail with little convinces and TV. If there is a Video of them shoplifting which I bet there is let them go to jail for disrespecting another country laws that hurts the owner of a Business they work hard for the money. I wish they would show them shoplifting if there is video so we see what type of adults they are.

  • UEM

    Really, they don’t teach college students that stealing is wrong? OR that doing it in a foreign country is STUPID! Maybe they should have gone to Harvard where they could learn how to properly perform anal sex in a classroom.

    • tired

      Now that’s funny!

  • Elliot

    Father of the Year (heavy sarcasm) responds to his son being busted for shoplifting while visiting another country while representing his country & university with a baffling, “…it ain’t no big deal.” It’s parenting like that that led LiAngelo to not be able to choose right from wrong.

    • Beachguy53

      Guess the coaching staff didn’t explain to them to behave.

    • Flagfriend

      Actually, the father’s response is not so baffling if you have heard other comments he has made, and the way he conducts himself.

      Hey boys: when you mess with the bull, sometimes you get the horns.

  • Beachguy53

    Put them in a Chinese jail.

  • marcthepig

    I guess they weren’t told that you can’t loot in China.