President Donald Trump personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help resolve the case of three UCLA men’s basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting while in Hangzhou for a tournament last week, people familiar with the situation said Monday.
Trump raised the arrests during a two-day state visit to Beijing, arriving a day after the three freshmen players had been accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel.
After Trump raised the matter, Xi promised to look into the case and ensure the players would be treated fairly and expeditiously, said a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Chief of Staff John Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players and spoken with UCLA Coach Steve Alford, and Kelly remains in contact with Chinese authorities, the official added. This official indicated that charges against the players have been reduced and that the case is proceeding toward a resolution.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · David Nakamura