LiAngelo Ball, Other UCLA Players Free on Bail, Could Have Faced 10-Year Prison Term for Theft in China

LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates could have faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if they are convicted after being arrested, Tuesday, for shoplifting while visiting Shanghai, China.

However, the trio of American ballers were released on bail Wednesday evening.

Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were arrested on November 7 for allegedly stealing merchandise from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel the team was staying in outside of Shanghai. The team was in Shanghai to face Georgia Tech in their season opener on Saturday, according to The Big Lead.

Fortunately for the players, Chinese officials uncharacteristically moved quickly and released all three on bail.

“The players were treated with the utmost respect, kindness and professionalism at all times by the Hangzhou police,” a source told ESPN. “The players questioned were respectful at all times. None of this was confrontational.”

But, according to some, the three players were lucky to have been released so quickly as they were threatened with the possibility of sitting in jail for up to 37 days before even being indicted. Worse, conviction rates for theft in the Chinese system reach 99.2 percent, according to Hong Kong-based researcher William Nee.

“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,” UCLA said in a statement on Wednesday.

In his own statement, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “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.”

LaVar Ball, LiAngelo Ball’s bombastic father, initially dismissed the possible charges against his son saying that the arrest “ain’t that big a deal.”

Not long afterward, though, the senior Ball said he could no longer comment on the arrest as the school and league look into a reaction to the situation.

LaVar later released a statement saying, “It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball family and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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