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UCLA athletes released on bail in China after reported shoplifting

Three UCLA basketball players were reportedly arrested in China for shoplifting only a few days before the team’s season opener Friday against Georgia Tech. A person close to the situation confirmed an ESPN report that Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball,

The three UCLA basketball players arrested in connection with an alleged shoplifting in Hangzhou, China, have been released on bail, according to an ESPN report.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill remained at a luxury hotel in Hangzhou after police questioning while their Bruins teammates traveled to Shanghai for the team’s season opener Friday against Georgia Tech, the report stated. The trio is being required by local police to stay at the hotel until the legal process is complete and will not play against the Yellow Jackets.

It was not immediately known how long the legal process might take.

The shoplifting incident involved an alleged theft of unspecified merchandise from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where the Bruins had been staying, ESPN reported.

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“We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” UCLA said in a statement. “The university is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”

UCLA practiced Wednesday and was scheduled to visit Shanghai Disneyland. The Bruins have been accompanied on their trip by an entourage including university chancellor Gene Block, athletic director Dan Guerrero, cheerleaders, mascot Joe Bruin and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.

LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, his wife, Tina, and their youngest son, LaMelo, had breakfast in Shanghai with the team on Wednesday, according to ESPN, which also reported that LaVar Ball canceled a planned meeting with the media over legal concerns before commenting on LiAngelo’s situation.

“He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine,” LaVar Ball told a reporter. “Everybody making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.”

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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