Trump reportedly intervenes in LiAngelo Ball, UCLA basketball players shoplifting case in China
The case of the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting has officially caught the eye of President Donald Trump, who personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case, according to the Washington Post.
Trump was on a two-day state visit to Beijing, part of a five-nation tour of in Asia, three days after UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store. ESPN reported last Friday that police have surveillance footage of the trio committing the crimes in three stores in the high-end shopping center. The three players remained in Hangzhou during the team’s season-opening win against Georgia Tech in Shanghai and did not fly home with the team.
A U.S. official told the Washington Post that Xi promised Trump he would look into the case and make sure the players would be treated fairly. Charges against the players have been reduced and the case is proceeding toward a resolution, the official told the Washington Post.
Several experts in Chinese law said charges and accompanying punishment will dependent on the value of the stolen goods. Stanley Rosen, a professor of political science at USC specializing in Chinese politics and society, indicated the timing with Trump’s visit could be helpful.
“Whatever the legal issues are, they are trumped by the politics,” Rosen wrote in an email last week. “China does not want anything to detract from the warm welcome they have planned for the American president, so they will solve this problem as quickly as possible, which would include having the young men leave the country — after a suitable apology — as quickly as possible.”