Three UCLA players have reportedly been arrested for
shoplifting in China.
According to ESPN’s
Jeff Goodman, UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and
Jalen Hill were the three players arrested. The trio is part of
a highly-decorated recruiting class for head coach Steve
Alford. They were released on bail on
Wednesday morning, but will remain in Hangzhou until the legal
process plays out.
The rest of the Bruins have traveled to Shanghai, where they
will open the regular season with a game against Georgia Tech
Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard and former
Bruin Lonzo Ball, is the most high-profile of the three
arrested Bruins. Riley and Hill are former top-100 recruits who
are supposed to be a big part of UCLA’s plans this season.
According to Goodman’s report, the three arrested UCLA players
are currently away from the team as they are being questioned
about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the
Hyatt Regency at which both teams are staying at in Hangzhou.
UCLA released a statement on Tuesday: “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.”
Besides for the UCLA arrests, local Chinese police also looked
into Georgia Tech players during their investigation. According
to a report from Ken Sugiura of the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, three members of the Yellow
Jackets were questioned by police on Tuesday, but they were
later released. The three Georgia Tech players questioned and
cleared by police include sophomore Justin Moore and freshmen Jose
Alvarado and Jon Brown.
Georgia Tech released its own statement on the matter on
“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech
student-athletes were not involved in the activities being
investigated,” the statement said. “They will rejoin the team
on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of
Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”
Sugiura also reports that local police inspected the UCLA team
bus in the cargo component as players waited to attend
practice. Because of the police delay, UCLA players got off the
bus and went back into the hotel. More police then arrived at
the hotel to conduct interviews with the suspects.
Georgia Tech’s practice schedule was also changed as players
from the Yellow Jackets started an unscheduled study hall
instead of taking a bus to their practice. The three Yellow
Jackets questioned by police were not present during that study
hall, according to Sugiura.
The three arrested UCLA players could face stiff penalties
thanks to the Chinese legal system. According to a report from
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, if standard
Chinese practices are applied for a conviction for shoplifting
the trio could face three to 10
years in prison.