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UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball may have set a record for steals in the storied college basketball program’s history before even playing one game. The shoplifting arrest of the “big baller” in China could result in a much bigger punishment than some might expect.

Ball was among three UCLA players accused of looking for a five-finger discount at the Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou, ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon. The son of the polarizing LaVar Ball and brother to hoops stars Lonzo and LaMelo was nabbed just days ahead of UCLA’s game against Georgia Tech on Friday.

While immediate details were scarce, such as what was allegedly stolen, criminal penalties for theft in China are among the strictest in the world.

“Those robbing public or private property using force, coercion, or other methods are to be sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in addition to fine,” according to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China.

If a weapon was used or if anyone was hurt, LiAngelo and/or his teammates could also face the death penalty, according to Chapter V of “The Crime of Encroaching on Property” portion of the criminal code.

The laws in China are so strict that one woman was sentenced to serve a decade in prison for stealing a cellphone in China. Another woman who stole food from a grocery store was sentenced to being publicly shamed by being forced to hold up a sign reading, “I am a shameless thief,” China Daily reported.

In another sign of the country’s rigid criminal justice system, the above penalties were seen as being “too lenient” for shoplifting in 2001, according to the South China Morning Post.

Back home in Southern California, LiAngelo drives a Ferrari, which typically sells for as much as $400,000. His younger brother LaMelo drives a Lamborghini. Their older brother Lonzo just signed a lucrative multi-million dollar contract with the Lakers. Their father was running the Big Baller Brand, an athletic lifestyle brand that sells sneakers for $495 a pair, among other pricy items.

All of those facts likely left many wondering why exactly LiAngelo would need to steal anything at all. The least-heralded Ball brother, far from an NBA prospect, was largely seen as part of a package deal to guarantee his brothers would play for the storied UCLA program.


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‘Big Baller’ LiAngelo Ball Could Get Big Prison Time For Shoplifting In China  was originally published on