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Trump asks Chinese president to help UCLA trio

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Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte

President Donald Trump has personally intervened on behalf of the three UCLA basketball players ensnared in an worldwide shoplifting scandal, asking his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help settle the case, a top White House spokesman said Monday. Since then, the trio is being required by local police to stay at the Hangzhou hotel until the legal process is complete.

President Donald Trump intervened to help the three UCLA men's basketball players, including LiAngelo Ball, who were arrested for shoplifting while in China for a tournament last week.

The Washington Post reported Monday that a USA official indicated that shoplifting charges against the players have been reduced, and the case could be resolved soon.

The White House confirmed in an email to the Washington Post, which first reported Trump's involvement, that the president brought up the issue with Xi.

Citing a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation, ESPN reported the players could be in Hangzhou for "a week or two" while the situation is resolved.

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Ball's father and younger brother also remained in China to film their Facebook reality show "Ball in the Family", though they were not staying with LiAngelo.

Ball, Riley and Hill were wearing Bruins workout gear as they exited the hotel health club Monday and lumbered toward the elevators.

Alford rejoined the rest of UCLA's team in Shanghai on Wednesday morning after the players were released.

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. "The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time".

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