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Australian rugby player George Smith accused of assaulting Tokyo taxi driver

George Smith
George Smith of Suntory Sungoliath (TBS News)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested Australian professional rugby player George Smith for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver in Fuchu City late last year, reports TBS News (Jan. 17).

At around 12:10 a.m. on December 31, Smith, who plays in Japan for Suntory Sungoliath, left the cab near his residence in the Miyamachi area without paying the 10,000-yen fare. After the male driver, 58, chased him down, Smith allegedly beat him in the face.

The driver suffered injuries required two weeks to heal.

Police arriving at the scene arrested Smith, who was intoxicated at the time, on suspicion of robbery resulting in injury. The suspect denies the allegations.

Australian national team

For more than 10 years, Smith was a flanker on the Australian national team. In 2011, he became the highest paid Australian rugby player joining Suntory on a three-year contract valued at around 270 million yen.

On Saturday, Suntory topped the Panasonic Wild Knights 12-8 in the Japan Rugby Top League final at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. Smith did not participate in the match, which was the club’s fifth Top League title.

“We apologize for causing any inconvenience to the victim and affiliated parties,” a representative of Suntory said in a statement, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 18). “We will correspond with the victim in good faith.”