HEADLINE US athletes apologize for shoplifting in China


US athletes apologize for shoplifting in China


05:55, November 16, 2017


Photo: AFP

Three US college basketball players detained in China for shoplifting publicly apologized Wednesday and thanked President Donald Trump for helping secure their release.

UCLA's LiAngelo Ball and teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested last Tuesday in Hangzhou. The trio were held on suspicion of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store and later freed on bail but ordered to remain in the picturesque Chinese city.

Shoplifting can bring jail time in China depending on the value of the goods.

On Wednesday, all three admitted their guilt at a news conference in Los Angeles, one day after returning home.

"I take full responsibilities for the mistake that I made, shoplifting. I know that this goes beyond me letting my school down but I let the entire country down," said Riley.

"Before I thank everybody who worked so incredibly hard helping us returning home safely, I want to thank the Chinese government and the police for taking care of us. And to President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf."

Ball told reporters he had not exercised his "best judgment" and vowed never to repeat the "stupid decision" to steal, also thanking Trump, as well as the Chinese police and UCLA.

"This does not define who I am. My family raised me better than that and I am going to make myself a better person from here on out," he added.

Hill told reporters he wanted to be known for his love of basketball rather than "this dumb mistake."

"This incident has changed me in a way that I cannot describe. I have so much more respect from the people around me from coaches and staff and the fans of UCLA," he said.

UCLA head coach Steve Alford said the trio had been suspended indefinitely and would not travel with the team or suit up for home games.

Alford thanked "President Trump and his administration for their nonstop efforts" in resolving the case.

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