MANILA, Philippines — Nov 14, 2017, 6:17 AM ET

Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve case of UCLA basketball players accused of theft

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President Donald Trump said he has personally appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of three UCLA men's basketball players who were arrested for alleged shoplifting in China last week and now potentially face lengthy jail time.

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"When I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi," Trump told reporters on Air Force One shortly after taking off today from Manila, Philippines.

"What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games," he said of the Chinese justice system.

FILE - UCLA NCAA college basketball players, Liangelo Ball, left, and Cody Riley are shown in these file photos. The UCLA basketball team is heading back to Los Angeles without three players arrested on shoplifting charges in China, according to a reThe Associated Press
FILE - UCLA NCAA college basketball players, Liangelo Ball, left, and Cody Riley are shown in these file photos. The UCLA basketball team is heading back to Los Angeles without three players arrested on shoplifting charges in China, according to a re

The three freshmen UCLA basketball players were arrested in China on shoplifting charges last Tuesday.

Among the arrested was LiAngelo Ball, younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball. Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were also arrested.

The men were released on bail early Wednesday morning, but were required to stay in their Hangzhou hotel until the legal process is over, which could take days, weeks or even months, ESPN reported.

Xi was "terrific" in response to his request and has indicated he will intervene in the case, Trump said.

"Hopefully, everything is going to work out, and I know they're very grateful because they were told exactly what happened," he said.

Trump, who has branded himself as a tough-on-crime politician, seemed to concede the players' guilt, but said it's a "very, very rough situation with what happened to them."

Asked whether he expects the men to be released to the United States soon, Trump said: "I hope so. I hope so."

News - Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve case of UCLA basketball players accused of theft

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  • miss independent

    if they are not kicked off the team then that is just telling them it is okay. what do you think they will do next if they are given that kind of immunity

  • miss independent

    they sure are a total embarrassment to America. I bet they think all our youth are spoiled entitled acting brats who have no better upbringing than to steal like that while visiting another country..... Now if everyone wonders what is wrong with our country.... there is your answer...

  • I want darwinism back

    Turmp should have asked china to uphold there own laws and locked these three dumb f#$ks up.

  • unusual

    He's a law and order president? Yeah, right. And my grandmother is the Queen of England.

  • pfisters

    But Trump is super duper racist. Why would he do anything to help free three young black men from prison in China?

  • David

    Hey Trump my sister's boy got caught shoplifting in Alvin Texas at a Walmart, can you intercede for me? He didn't play college ball but he was little dribbler. I know you and Governor Abbott are tough on crime and all, but you know it's tough really tough here in Texas.

  • Elise

    Double standard, Hypocrite, Nepotism, Lying, Unqualified, ...

    It's like an audio house of mirrors with this scummy administration. AND, there's no foreseeable end in sight.

  • lambimt

    They should be treated like any other person, they should stay, stand trial and if guilty should face the consequences.

  • Sejal

    I don't think that Trump should be using his influence to advocate these players getting away with committing a crime. Perhaps he's doing it because they are black and he's trying to make it look like he's not a racist after defending white supremacists.

  • Grundig12

    Sorry but this is a perfect example of what's is wrong with ethics in this nation. These adults went to a foreign nation as a guest and were caught on camera stealing. They should pay the price. They are old enough to know right and wrong and when in another country, you must follow their laws, regardless if you believe in them or not. Getting a free pass on a crime will teach them nothing. How would you feel if a group of Chinese nationals came to this country as guests and were caught stealing? Would you just let them off?

  • ShawnLetwin

    If we can't respect the laws of other countries then we have no moral ground to expect foreign citizens to respect our laws...but then again we don't expect that...we go from illegals to calling them undocumented immigrants.

    Those kids aren't thieves, they are "undocumented consumers".

    They should be thanking their lucky stars they weren't in a middle eastern country.

    Just another example of "privileged theft" at the lower spectrum...the big boys sit on Wall Street and what not.

  • Lee Larsen

    They were guests in the country of China and they chose to steal from them. They have embarassed themselves and dishonored their parents and their country. Justice should be equal for everyone no matter where you are from, the color of your skin or your social standing.

  • Captn Blynd

    Dear commenters, Trump asked that the case be resolved, not that these people be found innocent or guilty. He did not request an outcome, he requested a speedy process.
    When asked if he hopes they are released to the US soon, what was he supposed to say "I hope they rot in a foreign prison for a crime this country would fine them for"?
    I hope they rot in a foreign prison, but I don't have political considerations.

  • Harry The Handsom Butcher

    If Trump was a real tough guy on humanitarian issues like he pretended to be with cuba, he'd ask Xi to solve the case of how organ donors and deathrow inmates only account for 30-40% of Chinas organ transplants with the rest being totally unexplained. Don't Americans on medical trips have the right to know if their new heart was taken from a political prisoner?

  • anotherview2

    Respect the justice system of China. Let its system work its way for these shoplifters. They cannot appear to flout the law of this ancient nation.

    Perhaps these young men saw shoplifting in China as a lark. Yet stealing offends the morality of every civilized nation. This message should fully reach these petty thieves. A year or two, and maybe longer, in a Chinese prison would instill in them the universal law against stealing. Let them now learn a lesson they should have learned while growing up.

  • Fuzzy Dunlop

    this is a chlnk in the armor for UCLA, and they needed to nlp this behavior in the bud right away because going down the path of crime can be a steep sIope. sometimes these stories have sIants, but this sounds pretty straight forward.

  • Tertulliano

    executive pardons like he did on joe arpaio don't work in China

  • Marian Blalock Bernstein

    Stupid. Let them face the consequences. Maybe they'll learn something.

  • BD70

    Why do they have the need to steal in the first place? And secondly if Trump is so tough on crime and acknowledges they did the crime why doesn't he let them do the time?