Ten players from the Papua New Guinea Under 19 cricket team face an extended ban from the sport after being caught shoplifting in Japan.
The players were suspended by Cricket PNG on Saturday after stealing from a handful of shops in Sano, just over an hour north of Tokyo, where they had been competing in a regional qualifying tournament for the Under 19 World Cup.
With only four players available for selection PNG were forced to forfeit their final qualifying match against Japan, gifting the hosts a spot at next year's tournament in South Africa.
Cricket PNG Chief Executive Officer Greg Campbell said Japan is strict on crime and the offending players were fortunate local police did not press charges and allowed them to return home.
"They were caught doing some stealing, which is a no-crime policy in Japan," he said.
"It's not as bad as people said but our point of view, my point of view and the board's point of view is it doesn't matter whether it's one item or 10 items - it's the same crime.
"They've got no charges laid against them - everything has been cleared. We got all the items back, we paid for them at the shops they were taken (from) and donated that to charity, is what I can gather from our team manager, and the shopkeeper didn't press any further and they left the country so they have no charges against them whatsoever."
Papua New Guinea have attended the Under 19 Cricket World Cup on eight occasions dating back to 1998 but Greg Campbell said suspending them was the right decision.
"Well it was never an option in my mind or the team manager's or the ICC (to let them play the final game) - they did wrong mate. We shouldn't let them go through, they did wrong," he said.
"Although it wasn't on the cricket field: nothing to do with any part of the cricket, it was after the hours of cricket, but it's just something that the ICC code of conduct and Cricket PNG's code of conduct we we don't accept. If they hadn't of done it the ICC might have done it and we would have welcomed it, but we did it straight away."
The Garamuts squad, including four players who did not steal any items, arrived back in Port Moresby on Tuesday, and the team management met with the offending players and their families yesterday.
"The parents understand it now and were of course not very happy...the bottom line is we had to get them out," Campbell said.
"A crime in Japan is anything from 5 to 10 to 15 years - there's a no crime thing - so that was our main priority was the boys.
"They're young men and they probably didn't know better and got caught into peer pressure, so we'll do our own investigations moving forward but it's mishap they've had and we want to move on and get these kids back playing cricket and hopefully they become better PNG people."
Greg Campbell said the players will be informed of further sanctions imposed by Cricket PNG on Thursday, but stressed the players are young and the organisation has a duty to support them.
"They realise they've missed a World Cup and what harm it's probably done to us reputational-wise," he said.
I don't think it will hurt us financially, I'm not sure yet.
"I spoke to all the sponsors today and they're right behind us. They know we did everything right and they were really happy with the way we conducted ourselves and pulled the team out and spoke to the sponsors individually, and the main priority was - even from our sponsors - was that the young boys are ok, they're back here and we will look after them in the future.
"I think it will hit down the track when they're not playing in World Cups and they're not allowed to play cricket - that's when our priority is to look after them with counselling."
Greg Campbell said the offending players apologised to members of the local community in Japan after returning the stolen items and will also visit the Japanese embassy in Port Moresby.
The ICC is investigating the incident while Cricket PNG said it will review its protocols around representative teams touring overseas.