Japanese swimmer convicted of 2014 Asian Games theft


SEOUL: A South Korean court Thursday found disgraced Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita guilty of stealing a journalist’s camera at the Asian Games last year.

The court in the western port city of Incheon ordered Tomita to pay a fine of one million won ($890) after being convicted of theft, according to Yonhap news agency.

Tomita, a gold medallist at the 2010 Asian Games, was booted out of last year’s event in Incheon after police brought charges against him.

At the time, he paid a one million won fine imposed by prosecutors for the alleged theft, and in Japan the 25-year-old was slapped with an 18-month ban by the Japan Swimming Federation.

Initially he admitted stealing the $7,600 camera after police studied images from CCTV cameras at the pool in Incheon.

But he later denied the theft, insisting he had confessed because he feared he would not otherwise be allowed to return home.

He also claimed an unidentified person had put the camera in his bag, while his lawyer accused South Korean police of fabricating the charges.

The Japanese Olympic Committee called the incident a “very serious violation” of its code of conduct.

Yonhap quoted a South Korean judge as saying Tomita did not show “any remorse” for his crime.

“I am angry and sad that the court did not accept my side of the story,” Tomita told reporters, adding that he and his lawyer would discuss whether to appeal, according to Yonhap.



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