President Trump gets involved in UCLA basketball players' shoplifting case

Zhu Guangyao

Trump called on China for the umpteenth time to strengthen sanctions on North Korea; Xi said nothing, and the Chinese press removed Trump's comments.

Guard LiAngelo Ball, brother of the Lakers rookie, and forwards Cody Riley and Jalen Hill did not play in the team's win over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai. Theft of this nature is taken much more harshly in China than it is in the United States, and these players are finding that out the hard way. "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".

"After Trump raised the matter, Xi promised to look into the case and ensure that the players are treated fairly and expeditiously, said a USA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation", the Post reported.

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That may have led to some legal help too.

Trump broached the subject in private during his visit last week to Beijing, according to the Post. They were released on bail last week, but were told to remain in Hangzhou until the legal process was completed. The source noted that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of a high-end shopping center, which houses Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores. Three players were questioned from each team.

Trump will return home and say the trip was a huge success, while Xi will believe the home field advantage really works. Trump was later notified of the UCLA players' detainment through his aides. He reportedly said that his son's arrest was "not a big deal". Reportedly, the Ball family will open a pop-up store in Hong Kong on Tuesday (Nov. 14).

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