Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Trump Hopes Swift Return of UCLA Players Detained in China

Trump personally asked Xi Jinping to help resolve case of UCLA basketball players arrested in China Trump Hopes Swift Return of UCLA Players Detained in China
Melinda Barton | 15 November, 2017, 04:56

Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting are on a plane back to Los Angeles.

UCLA Bruins freshman basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were set to land in Los Angeles at 5:30pm local time Tuesday.

Trump spoke to reporters in the Philippines as he prepared to return to Washington after a almost two-week visit to Asia that included an earlier stop in Beijing.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi, The Post reported.

Trump learned about the details of the cases from aides, including Kelly, said the official familiar with the internal discussions.

Asked about the trio and Trump's discussing the issue with Xi, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that he was unable to provide any further information.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that the players had been seen boarding a plane bound for LAX.

"China will handle this case in accordance with law and protect the lawful rights and interests of the people involved", Geng said.

The UCLA shoplifting case has reportedly reached the highest levels of both the American and Chinese governments. The UCLA team returned to the USA without them on Saturday.

As previously shared, the three were in China for a game against Georgia Tech. UCLA is scheduled to host Central Arkansas Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion.

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.

Cody Riley, Jalen Hill, and LiAngelo Ball (the brother of L.A. Lakers star rookie Lonzo Ball, and the son of entrepreneur LaVar Ball - who has become a favorite of ESPN and Saturday Night Live for what many see as over-the-top promotion of his sons) are headed back to the USA with the matter reportedly having been resolved.