Three American college basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting are returning home, a league official said Tuesday, after President Donald Trump intervened on their behalf.
They did not travel home with the rest of the team, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the young men were seen at a Chinese airport Tuesday night checking into a flight bound for Los Angeles.
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Ball, Hill and Riley were expected to have an immediate impact as part of UCLA's highly touted recruiting class.
"It's a very, very rough situation with what happened to them", Trump said. He said the trio, who had been held since last week, could have faced long prison sentences. "And hopefully everything is going to work out", Trump said on board Air Force One, before word of the trio's return appeared. Trump was in the Philippines capital for a summit of Asian leaders. The source told ESPN there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end retail center. The three also remained in China as their team returned to the United States over the weekend. They were detained in China before their annual season-opening Pacific-12 game against Georgia Tech in Hangzhou last week, KCBS reported, citing the university.
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Days before the game in Shanghai, the Bruins were in Hangzhou to visit the headquarters of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant that sponsored Saturday's contest.
"We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities", Scott said in his statement.
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"I'm just glad it's resolved and that they're on the way home safely", he told Reuters by telephone from an Anti-Defamation League Sports Leadership Council event in San Francisco. "Both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students". "Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared".
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