Three UCLA basketball players suspected of shoplifting remained under house arrest in China Monday, amid a report that President Donald Trump intervened in the case by asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the investigation.
Trump raised the issue with Xi during their meeting on Saturday, The Washington Post reports, and Xi promised the players will be fairly treated.
The newspaper also reported that chief of staff John F. Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players and spoken with UCLA coach Steve Alford.
"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.
Xi has promised to look into the case and ensure, as Trump has asked, that the players be treated fairly and expeditiously, a US official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, told The Post.
ESPN has reported, citing anonymous sources, that authorities have surveillance footage of thefts from three stores inside the mall near the team hotel in Hangzhou.
Police arrived early Tuesday morning at the Hyatt Regency in Hangzhou, where both UCLA and Georgia Tech were staying ahead of their matchup in Shanghai. The athletes were unable to play in the game, and they remain in China awaiting their fate while the rest of their team returned to the USA days ago.
The whole incident has since overshadowed the Ball family's entry into the Chinese market, as LiAngelo was supposed to accompany outspoken celebrity father LaVar during the store openings of family startup Big Baller Brand.