A South Korean court has found Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita guilty of stealing a camera at the Incheon Asian Games in September last year.
The district court in Incheon fined Tomita 1 million won (about $890), as called for by prosecutors.
Tomita had initially admitted to the charge of stealing the camera, which belonged to a South Korean news agency and was left next to a pool on Sept. 25. But he later claimed he was falsely accused.
Tomita, who won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, denied the accusation at a press conference in Japan last November and claimed that someone unbeknownst to him had stolen his bag before placing the camera in question inside.
He again denied committing the crime when the trial opened in the South Korean port city in January, saying: “There is no truth that I stole a camera.”
He argued that he had no interest or knowledge of cameras in the first place, adding that it would be impossible for him to even know how to remove the professional telescopic lens before stealing the camera, as claimed by the prosecution.
Police who investigated the incident maintained that video footage from the surveillance camera clearly shows Tomita committing the crime.
The presiding judge said in the ruling that Tomita’s claim was “difficult to believe.”
Tomita told reporters after the ruling that he would decide whether or not to lodge an appeal within the next seven days.
“The surveillance camera footage is unclear and I can’t accept this ruling,” he said.
Read The Japan Times