The three UCLA basketball players who were busted for allegedly shoplifting in China could be stuck in the country for months.
According to ESPN, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are not allowed to leave their hotel room until the end of the legal proceedings against them. That process could take months, during which time, the three players will remain at the Hangzhou hotel.
According to Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Chinese officials have 37 days in which they will decide whether or not to grant official approval for an arrest.
If there is an arrest, an investigation will follow, which could possibly take months before charges could be brought, at which point the three basketball players would face a legal system with a 99 percent conviction rate.
There is hope, however.
A Chinese law expert tells USA Today that the fact that Ball and his teammates were allowed to return to their hotel, it is “a very good sign.”
“This shows they’re getting special treatment,” says Jerome Cohen, the faculty director of New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute. “Normally, the Chinese do not give bail, certainly not this early in a case that they’re going to prosecute. … It usually is only given at the convenience of the police.”
The three players were reportedly arrested on Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store. They were released on bail on Wednesday.
The arrests came a day before President Donald Trump arrived in China during his tour of Asia. On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping began Trump’s visit to the country by taking him on a tour of the Forbidden City.