Three UCLA men’s basketball players are on their way home to the United States after their arrests for shoplifting in China last week. LiAngelo Ball, 18, Cody Riley, 19, and Jalen Hill, 17, were released on bond under the condition that they remained on house arrest at the Hyatt Hangzhou hotel.
Ball, Riley and Hill were taken into custody on Tuesday for allegedly shoplifting an expensive pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses from an upscale mall next door to their luxury hotel in Hangzhou, China.
President Trump, who arrived in China a day after the arrests, spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on behalf of the detainees.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that President Trump spoke to Xi on behalf of the three boys.
“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games,” he said of Chinese authorities. He added: “hopefully everything is going to work out.”
The players face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the misdemeanor charges.
The UCLA basketball team returned to the U.S. on Sunday after defeating Georgia Tech 63-60 in the season opener in Shanghai on Saturday.
The game was sponsored by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. Jack also spoke to President Xi on behalf of the boys.
Photo by Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images