The three UCLA basketball players questioned over shoplifting allegations in Hangzhou, China, could face a lengthy legal limbo depending on the actions of authorities handling their case, an expert in Chinese law said Wednesday.
(From left) UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and Kris Wilkes pose for a picture before flying to China for Friday's opener against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
A source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation, stated that police had released the three on condition that they remain at their luxury hotel in Hangzhou while the legal process continues.
"They weren't messing around", the source shared.
If the three are arrested, an investigation could take up to two additional months before prosecutors bring formal charges.
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In a statement on Weibo earlier Wednesday, LaVar Ball called the incident "unfortunate to both the Ball family and UCLA". Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, said the case had been reported to USA authorities.
In a statement to PEOPLE, UCLA said, "We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China".
His father, LaVar Ball, is also in China and told ESPN that he was "going to wait until I get more intel on what's going on" before commenting.
President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday to discuss trade, North Korea and a range of other topics.
Van Gundy of course failed to mention the previous Pac-12 China games that went off without incident, provided the players and coaches a chance to briefly experience another culture, and helped promote the league to a new global audience.