Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

UCLA players arrested in China still waiting for official investigation

UCLA players arrested in China still waiting for official investigation

UCLA's freshman basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley are making headlines.

During the Golden State-Minnesota broadcast on Wednesday night, ESPN NBA color commentator Jeff Van Gundy blasted the Pac-12 for its decision to send UCLA and Georgia Tech to China for an early-season college basketball game.

The university said it was cooperating with local authorities. The players were released around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning and were staying at a luxury hotel in Hangzhou along with a UCLA representative, according to a source.

Citing a person close to the situation, the Los Angeles Times reported Ball was involved in a shoplifting incident along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

An arrest would prompt an investigation that could take up to two additional months before prosecutors bring formal charges, Lewis told the newspaper.

The punishment for three UCLA players, who are accused of shoplifting in China, is starting to become more clear.

The Chinese courts are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

Asked later in the day whether he was anxious about his son, LaVar replied, according to ESPN: "He'll be fine, he'll be fine".

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Often, however, China will deport foreigners suspected of having committed relatively minor offences without going through the whole process.

The US State Department and UCLA athletics officials declined to address how long legal proceedings might take.

In a statement to PEOPLE, UCLA said, "We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China".

The Chinese government reported the incident to US officials, Chinese foreign ministry officials previously said.

President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday to discuss trade, North Korea and a range of other topics.

LaVar, Tina and LaMelo Ball went to China to watch LiAngelo play his first game as a Bruin and promote the opening of a Big Baller Brand pop-up shop in Shanghai.

His father, LaVar Ball, is also in China and told ESPN he was "going to wait until I get more intel on what's going on" before commenting.

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