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President Trump intervenes to free three alleged college basketball playing shoplifters from China


HANGZHOU, CHINA – Three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting sunglasses in China are now on a flight back to Los Angeles after President Trump intervened in the matter.

Last week, Deadspin reported “UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill … were arrested last week when they were caught shoplifting from high-end luxury stores.” The players were then detained after allegedly taking sunglasses from a shop, and did not play in the ball game against Georgia Tech.

In a statement released today, a UCLA official said, “The three UCLA men’s basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China are on a flight back home to Los Angeles, and 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.”

Mark Dreyer of China Sports Insider reports that “ALL shoplifting charges against LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were dropped, meaning the UCLA trio return home with a clean record. They also were NOT officially deported.”

Reuters reported that President Trump told reporters in Manila that, “What they did was unfortunate.” Trump also told reporters, Reuters says, that the three men could have faced long prison sentences, and President Xi of China was “terrific” in assisting in freeing them.

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