Three American college basketball players detained in China on shoplifting charges are on their way home, after President Donald Trump asked his Chinese counterpart to personally intervene in the case.
Trump brought up the matter of the UCLA players in talks with Xi Jinping during his visit to Beijing last week.
"He was terrific, and they're working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out," Trump told reporters Tuesday after leaving the Philippines, at the end of of his five-nation tour of Asia "What they (the players) did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They (the Chinese) do not play games.”
The players, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, were questioned for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. They were released on bail last week, but had been told to remain in Hangzhou until the legal process was completed.
The team returned home, without Ball, Riley and Hill.
A U.S. official quoted by the Washington Post said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players. The official indicated the charges against the players have been reduced and that the case is proceeding toward a resolution.