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Man arrested for filming water polo players

July 16,2019
A 37-year-old Japanese man was arrested by police on Sunday for allegedly illegally filming female water polo players at the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju.

According to police, the man snuck into an area off limits to visitors on Sunday around 11 a.m. at the aquatics center and allegedly illegally filmed female players warming up before their upcoming match. A tourist outside the off-limits area saw the suspect, found him suspicious and called the police.

When police confiscated the man’s camera, they found pictures and a 10-minute video featuring specific body parts, mostly the lower half, of female water polo players while they were training.

The man was questioned by police at the Gwangju Gwangsan Police Precinct on Sunday.

Police booked the Japanese man for being in violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes. Police plan to refer the man to the prosecution with suggestions of indictment.

The man was reported to have told police that he filmed the players in order to document their training and denied any sexual intent.

On Monday morning, the man tried to leave the country for Japan but was denied departure by immigration authorities. Gwangju police were able to request the day before that the immigration office ban the man from leaving the country.

Police suspect the man may have intentionally chosen water polo, as the aggressive game often leads to the slippage or tearing of players’ bathing suits. Because of this, most games are not broadcast live. In the 2012 London Olympics, a female water polo player was broadcast live with her upper body exposed after an opposing team player tugged her suit off during a game.

People who are charged with violating the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes by taking pictures or videos with a recording device can face up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 30 million won ($25,440). However, police and local legal experts expect the man will likely be subjected to Korean law with a fine or a suspension of his prosecution.

“As the man has been investigated by Korean [authorities], we expect that Japanese [authorities] will not reinvestigate the man according to international law,” said a police officer.

BY CHOI KYEONG-HO AND JUNG MYUNG-SUK [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]