Shoplifting is a relatively minor infraction in the United States, but not so in China. It could lead to a long prison sentence according to multiple outlets — and that could be bad news for the three UCLA men’s basketball players reportedly accused of committing the crime Tuesday in Shanghai.
Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley could be sentenced to between 3 and 10 years if convicted of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion, or other methods,” according to Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel, citing the website for the Chinese mission to the United Nations.
The trio were detained Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where UCLA is staying ahead of its season opener Friday against Georgia Tech. The most notable of the players is Ball, the younger brother of former UCLA star (and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie) Lonzo Ball and son of outspoken helicopter dad LaVar Ball.
LaVar Ball initially declined comment on the incident but is preparing to address the media, per ESPN’s Arash Markazi:
LaVar Ball's representative said he is setting up a press conference shortly where LaVar Ball will address the media in Shanghai.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 8, 2017
William Nee, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, told Wetzel that those detained for crimes in China could “be detained for more than a month without American-style bail before local prosecutors even decide whether to press charges.” Nee added that the United States consulate could intervene to try and negotiate a quicker resolution to the case.
Nee added that the charges could also be greatly reduced and thus warrant a much more lenient sentence.