22:11 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Slam Dunk! Donald Trump Helps Free Basketball Players Trapped in China

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    A trio of college basketball players touring China, and arrested this month after being accused of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store, have had their right to return to the US secured by Donald Trump, as he tours South East Asia.

    Three college basketball players detained in China for alleged shoplifting have been released and flown home to the United States following an intervention by President Donald Trump.

    ​The trio were arrested November 7 and released the next day, although were ordered to stay in the country pending the results of the police's investigation. They had been staying at a US$300-per-night hotel in Hangzhou.

    ​The US president raised the case of the University of California, Los Angeles players with China's leader Xi Jinping after they were reportedly caught shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai during his Asia trip.

    ​The trio — Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill — were allowed to leave the country November 14 and flew back to Los Angeles. It remains unclear whether the charges have been dropped outright.

    ​Gene Block, UCLA chancellor, said the incident was still being reviewed by the university, although he was pleased they had been able to rejoin their families.

    "Our primary focus has been on bringing our students back safely. I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law," he said in a statement.

    Speaking in Manila on Tuesday, November 14, Trump said the trio could have faced long prison sentences, but described the response by Mr. Xi as "terrific."

    "What they did was unfortunate," he added.

    ​The president has just completed a 12-day tour of Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, where he met Asian leaders.    

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    released inmates, prisoner release, basketball, students, prison, UCLA, Donald Trump, China, United States
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