Japan's former world champion swimmer Naoya Tomita has been kicked out of the Asian Games and booked by police after admitting to stealing a camera belonging to a South Korean photo-journalist.
The 25-year-old breaststroke star won 200 metres gold at both the World Short-course Championships and the Asian Games in 2010, and finished fourth over the 100m distance here.
"The swimmer stole a camera from a South Korean journalist that was left in the area," Japanese Chef de Mission Tsuyoshi Aoki explained this morning.
"The South Korean cameraman had reported it missing and CCTV revealed the swimmer had put the camera into his bag."
"He has confessed to stealing the camera but interrogation is still on.
"He has been expelled from the team effective immediately and will have to find his own way back home.
"Further consequences of the act will be decided upon in Japan."
Since these words were spoken, local police told Reuters the athlete has been booked without detention and barred from leaving the country.
In a statement, the Japanese Olympic Committee added it was "a very serious violation of the code of conduct of the Japanese delegation", and, although Tomita has now apologised, they decided they had no choice but to expel him with immediate effect.
The Japanese swimming team had managed an impressive total of 45 medals, of which 12 were gold, in the week-long swimming competition here, but this incident has now cast a considerable dampener over performances in the water.
At a time when political tension remains between South Korea and Japan, particularly surrounding the Japanese refusal to officially apologise for the country's sexual enslavement of Korean women during the Second World War, an occurrence like this hardly helps.
It is also not the first incident involving police here in Incheon, after an Iranian official and a Palestinian footballer were each questioned on unrelated sexual harassment charges.
Police are also hunting for three members of the Nepalese team who failed to return home following the conclusion of their events, and are thought to have deliberately disappeared in order to stay and take up residency in South Korea.
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