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Trump asked Chinese president for help over arrested UCLA basketball players

14 November 2017
Trump asked Chinese president for help over arrested UCLA basketball players

According to David Nakamura of the Washington Post, President Donald Trump called Chinese President Xi Jinping in hopes of resolving the shoplifting case against UCLA Bruins freshman basketball player LiAngelo Ball and two of his college teammates.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, ESPN's Arash Markazi reported Saturday the UCLA basketball players are expected to remain in China for "a week or two".

News of the arrests was widespread not only in the United States but also in China, breaking just a day before Trump arrived in the country.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi. The players were arrested last week and charged with shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the team's hotel. Chinese lawyers told Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel last week the UCLA basketball players could serve between three and 10 years in prison, but the US official told Nakamura their charges have been reduced.

Trump broached the subject in private during his visit last week to Beijing, according to the Post.

Several experts in Chinese law said charges and accompanying punishment will dependent on the value of the stolen goods.

Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours, according to ESPN. Trump was later notified of the UCLA players' detainment through his aides.

LiAngelo Ball declined to comment when reached by phone at his hotel on Wednesday, Reuters reported. He reportedly said that his son's arrest was "not a big deal".