UCLA players in LA after China release

Three UCLA basketball players, detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting, have arrived back in the United States.

Three UCLA basketballers have returned to the US after being held in China for alleged shoplifting.

Three UCLA basketballers have returned to the US after being held in China for alleged shoplifting.

The players landed at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday evening on a flight from Shanghai, their heads down.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill declined to speak to throngs of reporters before boarding a bus.

President Donald Trump said he had sought Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping's help in the case.

"What they did was unfortunate," Trump told reporters earlier in Manila. He said the trio, who had been held since last week, could have faced long prison sentences. Trump described Xi's response as "terrific."

Trump had raised the issue with Xi during his November 8-10 state visit to Beijing. Trump was in the Philippines for a summit of Asian leaders.

"The relevant case involving three students has already been resolved according to law," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

The three University of California basketballers were detained by police on November 7 in Hangzhou over alleged shoplifting. They were not on the team's return flight on Saturday to the United States.

A senior White House official said the players had been given relatively light treatment due to Trump's intervention.

"It's in large part because the president brought it up," the official told Reuters.

The UCLA team had been in China for a game against Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai. The teams had travelled to Hangzhou earlier in the week to visit the headquarters of the game's sponsor.

The three students, all freshmen, were taken in for questioning by police about alleged shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store.

They were released early on Wednesday and confined to a luxury hotel pending legal proceedings.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who had not spoken with the three players, said what had occurred was a very regrettable situation. Pac-12 is the college athletic conference in which UCLA participates.

"I'm just glad it's resolved ...".

Since the matter occurred off court, it would be up to UCLA whether the players would be punished, Scott said.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the university's athletics and office of student conduct would confidentially review the incident and determine any potential discipline.

"I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law."

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