The three UCLA freshmen basketball players held in China on suspicion of shoplifting have been released and are flying home, UCLA announced Tuesday.
UCLA men’s basketball student-athletes LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley are returning from China to Los Angeles at this time, according to a UCLA statement Tuesday morning.
It said the three would address the news media late Wednesday morning, along with head basketball Coach Steve Alford and Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero. But none of them will take questions.
The release of the alleged shoplifters followed President Donald Trump’s intervention. He said on his way to the U.S. after 12 days in Asia that Chinese President Xi Jinping was helping out in the case.
“President Xi has been terrific on that subject,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, bound for Honolulu. “But that was not a good subject. That was not something that should have happened.”
Trump and Xi met Thursday in Beijing.
Ball, Riley and Hill were detained last Tuesday on suspicion of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou. They remained under house arrest at the luxury hotel.
“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump said. “You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They (the Chinese) do not play games.”
When asked “do you expect to see them coming home soon?” Trump replied, “I hope so. I hope so.”
The Washington Post reported Monday that a U.S. official indicated that shoplifting charges against the players had been reduced, and the case could be resolved soon.
In other news, actor Ethan Cutkosky was arrested on suspicion of drug DUI in Burbank.