Three US college basketball players have been arrested in China for shoplifting, according to US media. This incident happened on Tuesday, one day before US President Donald Trump’s first visit to China, making it a subtle embarrassment to the number one capitalist leader visiting the number one communist country for the first time.
The players of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were caught shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store, according to ESPN.
The UCLA team is in China to play their season opener against another US team, Georgia Tech.
The players being held in the city of Hangzhou are Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill, according to the Los Angeles Times and ESPN citing unnamed sources.
“We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” UCLA Athletics spokeswoman Shana Wilson said in a statement to several US media.
“The university is co-operating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
LiAngelo Ball’s father, former basketball player LaVar Ball, issued a statement to ESPN saying: “It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball Family, and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly.”
Three Georgia Tech students have also been questioned but were not arrested, the university said in a statement to US media.
The two teams are in China as part of their league’s Pac-12 Global initiative, aiming to boost international recognition and the personal experience of players.
The season opener game on Friday in Shanghai is being sponsored by e-commerce giant Alibaba.