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UCLA basketball players arrested in China ahead of Trump's visit: reports

8 November 2017 - 22   - 0

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested in China for shoplifting on Tuesday, media reports said, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump landed there on his first official visit.

The players arrested were freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, according to USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and ESPN, all of which cited unnamed sources familiar with the incident. Ball is the younger brother of National Basketball Association rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers.

FILE PHOTO: Feb 5, 2017; Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA; Chino Hills guard LiAngelo Ball (center) against the Rancho Cucamonga Cougars at Rancho Cucamonga High School. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

The University of California, Los Angeles, declined to confirm the arrests.

“We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” UCLA Athletics said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Shana Wilson. “The university is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”

The UCLA team arrived in Shanghai on Sunday ahead of a game on Friday, when it will play Georgia Tech in both teams’ regular-season opener, according to statements from both teams.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott also declined to confirm the arrests, but said in a statement the conference was “disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about.”

“Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

The three players were questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where the team is staying, ESPN reported.

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