March 27 (UPI) -- A North Korean crew captain was found guilty of theft by a Japanese court, after he was accused of stealing power stations and TVs on an uninhabited island in Hokkaido last November.
Kang, 45, received a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence that was suspended for four years, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
Judge Takeshi Hashimoto at Hakodate District Court issued the verdict, according to the report.
According to Hashimoto, the defendant "claimed the seized items were being distributed to the crew, and for the safety of the ship.
"But there is not enough [evidence] for such a motivation," Hashimoto said.
The sentence was suspended for four years because the defendant showed "remorse," Hashimoto added.
Kang and nine other North Korean men were discovered on Nov. 28, 2017, on Matsumaekojima island off Matsumae in southern Hokkaido.
Hokkaido police subsequently reported missing property on Dec. 4, including televisions, refrigerators and other appliances.
Since then eight North Korean crewmembers were deported from Japan, and Kang is to be deported to North Korea as well, an action South Korea's Yonhap news agency defined as "forcible repatriation" on Tuesday.
Deportation could have serious consequences for the North Koreans, who could meet an uncertain fate upon their return.
One of the North Koreans, who remains unidentified, is in a Japanese hospital being treated for tuberculosis, NHK World reported Tuesday.
Forced repatriation of North Korean citizens has been condemned by the United Nations as a human rights violation.