LiAngelo Ball, 2 other UCLA basketball players arrested in China

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017
LiAngelo Ball, 2 other UCLA players arrested in China
LiAngelo Ball, L.A. Lakers' Lonzo Ball's younger brother, and two other UCLA basketball players were arrested in China, ESPN reports.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers star point guard Lonzo Ball, and two other UCLA basketball players were arrested in China, according to ESPN.

Ball, freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on shoplifting charges, a source told ESPN. The arrests come just days before the season opener against Georgia Tech.

They're accused of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store located right next to the team's hotel.

UCLA Athletics released the following statement:

"We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time."

Nearly 20 police officers came to the Hyatt Hangzhou at approximately 8 a.m. local time Tuesday and spoke to multiple players from both Georgia Tech and UCLA, a source told ESPN.

The players, according to the source, were kept in a room for hours and not allowed to speak to any of the coaches.

Hours later, the Georgia Tech players were allowed to leave the room, and the UCLA players were seen getting into a police vehicle around 1 p.m. local time, according to the source.

The big question is what could happen to them in the Chinese legal system.

"Potentially, they could be in quite a bit of trouble," said William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International. "China has a near 100 percent conviction rate, so once people are indicted, it's almost certain that they'll be found guilty."

Attorney Justin J. Shrenger said the theoretical worst case scenario is one to two years in jail.

LiAngelo Ball's father canceled a news conference and was saying very little Tuesday night.

Meantime, students at UCLA said they were stunned.

"It's wrong to steal from some other place. Whoever you are, stealing is wrong," said student Shawshan Gouda

The two teams are scheduled to open their season against each other Friday in Shanghai.