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Trump asked Chinese president for help over arrested UCLA basketball players

13 November 2017

No. 21 UCLA won its season-opening game 63-60 over Georgia Tech in Shanghai earlier Saturday.

Share this article: LiAngelo Ball is one of three UCLA basketball team players being held under house arrest during a suspected shoplifting investigation in China.

While touring various stops in Asia, Trump met with China President, Xi Jinping, and he reportedly addressed the UCLA basketball players with his Chinese counterpart. Xi promised Trump after the meeting that he would consider the case and that the players would receive fair treatment, a source familiar with the situation told the Washington Post. The Post cited an official who indicated charges against the players have been reduced and the case is close to resolution. The three players have not been allowed to leave China after being accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the team's hotel in Huangzhou last week.

Chief of Staff John Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players and spoken with UCLA coach Steve Alford, and Kelly remains in contact with Chinese authorities, the official told the paper. They did not fly home with the team, and ESPN has reported that authorities have surveillance footage and that the players could be required to remain in Hangzhou for a week or two.

Ball is the brother of highly-touted L.A. Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, and the son of LaVar Ball - who has become a household name due to his over-the-top promotion of his sons, specifically Lonzo. The leaders made no public mention of the arrest during Mr. Trump's two-day visit.

A White House official confirmed with CBS News that "the issue did come up" in Mr. Trump and Xi's "exchange".

The State Department typically handles cases of Americans arrested overseas.

Trump asked Chinese president for help over arrested UCLA basketball players