Three UCLA basketball players who were arrested by the Chinese for shoplifting were allowed to return to the United States after President Donald Trump personally intervened with Chinese President Xi.
Airline staff spotted the three basketball players checking into a flight in Shanghai, according to the Wall Street Journal just hours after Trump confirmed that he spoke about the situation with President Xi.
“I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on the trip back from Asia. “He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now, and hopefully everything is going to work out.”
The players were in China for a visitational game, while freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley were charged with shoplifting at a luxury shopping center.
“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump said. “You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games.”
The UCLA men’s basketball team flew back to the United States over the weekend, but the accused athletes remained in China until now.
When asked by reporters if they would be allowed to return to the United States soon, Trump replied, “I hope so. I hope so.”