Trump asked Chinese president for help over arrested UCLA basketball players

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The UCLA men's basketball team flew back to the US over the weekend without forwards Jalen Hill and Cody Riley and guard LiAngelo Ball, brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball.

President Donald Trump called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case involving UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball and two other basketball players who were apprehended on shoplifting charges in China, the Washington Post reported Monday. UCLA was in China for a basketball tournament and the players did not play in the Bruins' victory over Georgia Tech after authorities made the arrests.

Ball, Riley and Hill are now confided to their Hangzhou hotel and reportedly may have to wait up to two weeks until they are able to return home.

Surveillance video of the players appeared to show them shoplifting from stores inside of the high-end shopping complex including Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

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After Trump raised the matter, Xi promised to look into the case and ensure that the players be treated fairly and expeditiously, said a USA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump spoke to Xi regarding the matter.

The official was quoted as saying that the charges against the players have been reduced and that the case is proceeding toward a resolution.

The world is watching the events unfold in China with interest, and speculation over what may happen to them includes everything from a slap on the wrist to 10 years in prison. The Los Angeles Lakers selected his brother, Lonzo Ball, with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

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