Trump Hopes Swift Return of UCLA Players Detained in China

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U.S. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has contacted the families of the players and also spoken with UCLA coach Steve Alford.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were initially being held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou after being questioned about stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the team's hotel.

Trump said he personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to intervene on behalf of the three players during his two-day state visit to Beijing last week.


Trump had raised the issue with Xi at a dinner held during the USA leader's November 8-10 state visit to Beijing.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi. Any discipline the players may face would be up to UCLA, AP reported. It's not clear when they'll return to the USA, which is where President Trump comes in. On Monday, ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that three American men were being investigated in the eastern city of Hangzhou for alleged theft and that China and the US were in contact over the matter. The Bruins beat Georgia Tech 63-60 in their season opener in Shanghai on Saturday.

"China will handle this case in accordance with law and protect the lawful rights and interests of the people involved", Geng said. UCLA is scheduled to host Central Arkansas Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion. After being detained for a short time, it seems that the trio, which includes LiAngelo Ball, are headed back to the United States and the matter has been resolved.


ESPN reported that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting, but US official told The Washington Post that the charges were reduced.

The three basketball players from the University of California, Los Angeles, were detained by police on November 7 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou over allegations of shoplifting.


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