thursday, 11 june of 2015

Kinabalu mountain ´nudists´: Tourists in Malaysia court

Four Western tourists accused of being part of a group who posed nude at the top of Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu have appeared in court in Sabah state.

Authorities said the two Canadians, a Briton and a Dutchman may be charged with causing public nuisance.

Mt Kinabalu was hit by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake last Friday which left 18 people dead, including children.

A senior minister last week said the tourists had angered the spirits of the mountain, which is considered sacred.

Six people sought

Ranau district police chief Mohd Farhan Lee Abdullah confirmed to the BBC that the authorities had arrested a British woman at Tawau airport in Sabah on Tuesday.

The two Canadians, who are siblings, and the Dutchman turned themselves in to police on the same day.

Their lawyer, Ronny Cham, told the BBC's Jennifer Pak that he had requested the four be held apart from other detainees in order to ensure their safety.

The group appeared in court on Wednesday to have their remand extended, according to Malaysian newspaper The Star. They will now be held until Saturday while police continue their investigation.

Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Sabah's police commissioner, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that the authorities may charge them with causing a public nuisance.

He said they were still looking for six other tourists from the same group "and we will catch them".

The father of the British tourist who has been arrested, Eleanor Hawkins from the English city of Derby, said he was extremely worried about her. "I have got every faith in [Malaysia's] judicial system. I just hope they don't make an example of them," Tim Hawkins told the Guardian newspaper.

'Disrespect'

The group of 10 foreigners had allegedly stripped naked and posed for pictures on 30 May. They were also said to have urinated on the mountain.

The Muslim-majority country is socially conservative, and Mount Kinabalu is also considered sacred by Sabah's Kadazan Dusun tribe.

Pictures posted on social media angered many in Malaysia, but public sentiment intensified after the quake.

(Published by BBC News - June 10, 2015)

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