LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were detained for the said accusation on Tuesday, which took place at a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Shanghai. Their teammates, as well as players from Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets — whom they are up against on Saturday — were initially questioned “for hours.”
Now, an unidentified lawyer versed in Chinese law told Yahoo Sports that if standard practices are applied, the players could spend three to 10 years in prison if convicted, adding that it would take much effort from the U.S. government to have them released from detention or their charges relaxed.
The penalty, including a fine, reportedly applies for anyone guilty of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion, or other methods.”
William Nee, a researcher of the Chinese court system for Amnesty International, said that the trio could wait for 30 – 37 days before being indicted. He added that the U.S. consulate might help speed things up, but nothing is certain.
Nee, based in Hong Kong, told Yahoo Sports:
“I would say they could be in quite a bit of trouble if they have solid proof that they shoplifted… In most criminal cases that I know of, it’s very rare [or] unheard of for people to get American-style bail. I doubt it’ll be likely that they’ll be released until they either are sentenced or fined, or whatever the punishment may be.”
The players’ fates remain unclear as investigations continue. Both UCLA and Georgia Tech have released statements following the arrest.
UCLA: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
Georgia Tech: “We are aware of the matter involving UCLA student-athletes and we are gathering more information. During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. They will rejoin the team on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”