News & Politics

UCLA Players Accused of Shoplifting Will Remain in China

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at Mar-a-Lago, Friday, April 7, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Three UCLA basketball players who are accused of shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store in China will not return to the U.S. with the team. Instead, they will stay in their hotel in Hangzhou until legal proceedings have been completed.

Reuters:

The three students – freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – will remain in Hangzhou for a week or two, ESPN said on Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

Ball, Riley and Hill were questioned about alleged stealing from a Louis Vuitton store during the team’s visit to Hangzhou, home of the game’s sponsor, Alibaba.

They were taken into police custody on Tuesday morning and released early on Wednesday, a source told Reuters.

The players have been confined to their hotel in Hangzhou, and did not accompany the team when it traveled to Shanghai for its season-opener against Georgia Tech, which UCLA won 63-60.

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.

Sources told Reuters that police had released the three on condition they remain at their hotel during the legal process.

Often China will deport foreigners suspected of having committed relatively minor offenses.

Yes, and sometimes they don’t. Trump and President Xi recently had a cordial meeting during the president’s Asia trip. But there is some tension between the two countries. The Chinese don’t like Trump’s saber-rattling on North Korea and the U.S. has trade issues with China.

The Chinese may be waiting for a moment that would inflict humiliation on the U.S., a tactic they’ve used in the past with several presidents.

The young men will be lucky if China doesn’t use them as pawns in the international power game being played between Washington and Beijing.