What’s life like in a Chinese prison? LiAngelo Ball may be about to find out.
Ball, a freshman basketball player at UCLA, middle son of LaVar Ball and brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball – was arrested Tuesday, along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, for robbing a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel the team was staying at in China.
The three college freshman could be sentenced to 3-10 years in prison if they’re convicted, per Yahoo Sports. Chinese prosecutors successfully convict 99.2 percent of people who are indicted, Chinese legal expert William Nee told the site.
“I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on (before commenting on LiAngelo’s arrest),” LaVar told Markazi. “He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.”
LaVar Ball said, “I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on” before he comments on LiAngelo Ball’s arrest but said he’s not worried. “He’ll be fine,” he said. “Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.” pic.twitter.com/E7QuMaMsNU
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 8, 2017
Potentially spending years in a Chinese prison isn’t a big deal? They don’t even treat their free citizens well, how well can they possibly treat the incarcerated? For some fantastic context on what it may like, here’s a piece in Prison Legal News, entitled, “Inside a Chinese Prison: An American’s Perspective” (spoiler alert: it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun).
While the three alleged thieves are out on bail, they’re not with their team and they won’t be playing in the Bruins’ season opener in Shanghai against Georgia Tech on Saturday. More importantly, their legal situation is far from over.
“I would say they could be in quite a bit of trouble if they have solid proof that they shoplifted,” Nee told Yahoo Sports. “However, part of it will depend on whether their lawyers, the university, or the U.S. consulate can advocate and negotiate on their behalf.”
Realistically, many legal experts say, there’s no way these kids will spend anywhere close to 10 years in jail, if they do any time behind bars all. They’re in a sticky situation nonetheless.
At least they have the good ole’ USA on their side. The U.S. State Department official told TMZ, “We are aware of reports of three U.S. citizens arrested and subsequently released on bail in China. We stand ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for U.S. citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”
That provides some comfort, but the next few months are going to be anxious for the Ball family and the families of LiAngelo’s alleged co-perpetrators.