Riksdag member Fredrik Schulte of the Moderate Party was visiting a bookstore in Singapore when Mugabe’s entourage entered the shop.
The 27-year-old Swedish politician managed to take two pictures from a distance of about five metres before a woman near Mugabe reacted.
Someone who Schulte believed to be one of Mugabe’s bodyguards threw the Swede up against a bookshelf and forced him to erase the pictures.
Upon returning to Sweden on Tuesday, Schulte turned over his camera’s memory card to Riksdag IT-support staff for examination.
As he didn’t take any more pictures following the incident, the images can most likely be recovered.
When reached by the TT news agency, Schulte was at a loss to explain why he decided to take a picture of a man considered to be one of Africa’s most brutal dictators.
“I really don’t know why [I photographed him]. It’s just one of those things that happens,” Schulte said.
“When you realize you’re standing next to the Hitler of our time, the camera comes out.”
Schulte added that he would “bet his life” that the man he photographed was Mugabe.
The 85-year-old president of Zimbabwe leads a country suffering from a severe economic crisis. Nevertheless, last winter it became known that Mugabe had purchased a luxury home in Hong Kong for around 50 million kronor ($6 million).
He owns several expensive homes throughout Asia and his wife Grace has taken a number of shopping trips to the region in recent years, including visits to Hong Kong and Bangkok.