LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The three UCLA men’s basketball players arrested in China on shoplifting allegations Tuesday have been released on bail.
LiAngelo Ball – brother of Los Angeles Lakers star Lonzo Ball — Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel where their team is staying in Hangzhou. The three freshmen were released on bail early Wednesday, according to ESPN reporter Arash Markazi. It’s unclear what legal path their case will take now.
Sources told Bruin Report the players will likely not return to the U.S. with their teammates and could remain in China for a month.
UCLA is scheduled to play Georgia Tech Friday night Pacific time in Shanghai. However, in a news conference, UCLA head coach Steve Alford said the three players will sit that game.
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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that local police were called to the hotel where both teams were staying in Hangzhou and inspected UCLA’s bus as players waited to depart for practice. Police interviewed players from both teams before clearing three players from Georgia Tech, according to a statement released by the school. Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours.
UCLA said it was “aware of the matter involving UCLA student-athletes and we are gathering more information.”
LiAngelo’s father, LaVar Ball, who is in Shanghai for production on the family’s reality show, had scheduled a press conference, but later canceled it after being advised by legal counsel not to speak.
“He’ll be fine, everybody making it a big deal, it ain’t that big of a deal,” he told ESPN.
William Nee, an expert on China for Amnesty International, said the players could be stuck in China for a long time.
“According to China’s entry and exit law, a case must be fully resolved, before the suspects are allowed to eventually go home,” Nee told CBS2 by Skype.
Nee said that could take anywhere from weeks to years. A shoplifting sentence in China can carry up to 10 years in prison.
USC professor Stanley Rosen had a slightly different take. He told CBS2 Tuesday the Chinese justice system is very political and he believes the UCLA players will likely not serve any jail time. President Donald Trump is visiting China this week, and Rosen suspects government officials will not want the incident to overshadow festivities.