Malaysia arrests foreigners who posed nude on quake-hit peak

No Comments

malaysia-mount-kinabalu-naked-tourists-photo-1.jpgA group of Western tourists who sparked anger in Malaysia for posing naked on top of a sacred mountain could be sentenced to three months in prison - or face a traditional Malay tribunal and pay a fine of 10 buffalo.

Eleanor Hawkins, a 24-year-old from Derby, was arrested on Tuesday after a photograph appeared showing her and nine others posing naked on top of Mount Kinabalu.

Of the ten tourists, five have been arrested, including a Canadian brother and sister, Lindsey, 22, and 23-year-old Danielle Peterson; another Candadian, 33-year-old Emil Kaminski, and a Dutch man, Dylan Snel, 23.

Authorities are currently searching for the other five people involved.

The detained group are being held in at Karamunsing police station in Kota Kinabalu, the main town near Mount Kimbalu.

According to Malaysian law, the punishment for such an offence is a fine of 400 ringgit ($106).

Mount Kinabalu, a World Heritage Site and popular climbing destination, is considered sacred by Sabah's Kadazan Dusun tribal group, who believe it is a resting place for spirits. The pictures infuriated many in Malaysia.

On Friday a 6.0-magnitude quake struck near the mountain, sending landslides crashing down from its summit just as more than 150 hikers were at the peak enjoying sunrise views.

Sixteen people have been confirmed killed on the mountain and two remain missing.

In the wake of the disaster, Malaysian social media users and some Sabah officials have focused on the nudists, suggesting that their actions angered the spirits and led to the earthquake.

"This will certainly bring misfortune... we can't play with the spirit of the sacred mountain," deputy state chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan had told reporters on Saturday.malaysia-mount-kinabalu-naked-tourists-photo-2.jpg