Detained UCLA Basketball Players Heading Home from China

Three UCLA basketball players who were held in China for a week are making their way back home, according to numerous reports.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported that LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley had been seen at a Chinese airport Tuesday night checking into a flight bound for Los Angeles.  

The three freshman were detained by Chinese authorities at a hotel in Hangzhou after allegedly shoplifting a pair of sunglasses from an upscale store during their visit last week.

While on Air Force One on Tuesday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he had asked his counterpart Xi Jinping for a swift resolution to the matter and for a guarantee that the Bruins players be treated humanely.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the students will face no charges in China. The paper cited a source familiar with the matter, who was barred from speaking publicly of it due to the sensitivity of the situation.

“The three UCLA men’s basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China, are on a flight back home to Los Angeles, and the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement Tuesday morning. “We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university.”

The three players are scheduled to make statements during a UCLA press conference on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

According to the LA Times, the three players have boarded a Delta flight which took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport at 9 p.m., local time. It is scheduled to land just after 5 p.m. PST at LAX.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.