Three UCLA basketball players held in China after being accused of shoplifting were set to fly back to the United States on Tuesday after President Trump lobbied for their release with China’s leader, according to a report.
The players — freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — were seen at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport checking into a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing airline staff.
The three Bruins have been held in Hangzhou since last week when they were accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel.
Trump, who arrived in China as part of his five-nation Asian tour a day after the players were detained, called the situation “unfortunate” and said he “had a great conversation with President Xi [Jinping]” about the alleged thefts.
“He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now,” Trump said of Xi aboard Air Force One as he traveled to Hawaii earlier Tuesday. “And hopefully everything is going to work out. And I know they’re very grateful because they were told exactly what happened.”
After being questioned by local police about the thefts, the three players returned last Tuesday to the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, where they have been held since.
The trio missed their game against Georgia Tech on Saturday.