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3 UCLA players accused of shoplifting in China reportedly headed back to U.S.

HANGZHOU, China — Three UCLA men’s basketball players detained in China on suspected shoplifting charges appear to be headed back to the United States — and they may have President Donald Trump to thank for it.

Airline staff told the Wall Street Journal that LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley boarded a flight at a Shanghai airport Tuesday. The flight is believed to be en route to Los Angeles.

Ball is the son of infamous basketball patriarch Lavar Ball. His older brother, Lonzo, plays for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.

The three freshmen were part of the UCLA team that traveled to China to play a game against Georgia Tech last week. They were accused of shoplifting designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in the city of Hangzhou.

The three players were held in the team’s hotel, and did not play in the game.

The news of their return home comes hours after Trump said he asked Chinese president Xi Jinping for a quick resolution to the case during his visit late last week. Trump also called for the three players to be treated fairly.