MANILA – President Trump confirmed on Tuesday that he had appealed to President Xi Jinping of China on behalf of three basketball players from the University of California, LA, who were arrested last week found in Hangzhou, China, on suspicion of shoplifting.
“I had an excellent chat with President Xi,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he was departing the Philippines after a 12-day trip to Asia. “What they does was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about lengthy prison sentences. They do not play games.”
The Wall Street Journal and ESPN, citing unidentified people, reported that the three players had checked in on Tuesday at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport for a flight to LA.
Mr. Trump had explained that he hoped the Chinese president would support the players: LiAngelo Ball, a freshman safeguard; and Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, both freshman forwards. He emphasized that it was a “very, very rough situation, with what happened to them.”
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In China, where the justice system includes a very high conviction price, theft may bring punishment which range from a couple of days to years in prison.
The three males were arrested this past Tuesday, accused of stealing designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next with their hotel in Hangzhou, in eastern China, where these were likely to play in a tournament. They were unveiled on bail previous Wednesday but had been reportedly confined to the resort. (Playing without the three freshmen, U.C.L.A. defeated Georgia Tech, 63-60, in Shanghai on Friday.)