Trump personally asks China's Xi to help LiAngelo Ball
Apparently, big ballers don’t care about 99.92% conviction rates.
During a state visit to China, US President Donald Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to look into the shoplifting case of UCLA Bruin rookie LiAngelo Ball and his teammates in China, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Ball and his teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are still detained in their Hangzhou hotel as of today and are expected to stay for “a week or two,” according to updated reports by ESPN. They were not allowed to participate in their Saturday season-opening victory against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
Xi responded that he would “look into the case and ensure that the players are treated fairly and expeditiously,” according to an anonymous source of The Washington Post. This source also noted that the charges against the players have been reduced and their case is proceeding toward a resolution.
If this source is correct, then the UCLA trio may be a part of the miniscule 0.08% of people who get acquitted in the “Draconian” Chinese courts which are notorious for convicting nearly every individual charged of criminal activity, as described by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. It also helps that US Chief of Staff John F. Kelly remains in personal contact with Chinese authorities and the families of the players.
Wetzel initially reported that the players may face 3-10 years imprisonment for shoplifting, but according to the China Law Translate, the penalties for shoplifting “can vary greatly.”
As reported by The Washington Post, stealing products worth more than 2,500 yuan ($380) may merit jail time and stolen items worth between 7,000-10,000 yuan ($1,050-$1,510) fetches 2-3 years of imprisonment. However, the fact that the charges have been reduced means that the players and their families have cooperated with authorities, which may include actions such as admittance to wrongdoing and providing compensation for the stolen items.
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 Ball patriarch has since been unnaturally silent during the whole ordeal, but did comment on Twitter that “It ain’t that big a deal.” Los Angeles Lakers rookie and big bro Lonzo also did not have much involvement on the issue and, per instructions of his team and family, focused more instead on fixing his early-season struggles with the 16-time NBA champion franchise. – Rappler.com