Malaysia arrests four tourists for nude photos on sacred mountain

Andrew V. Pestano
A hiker is pictured at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Shutterstock, Inc.
A hiker is pictured at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Shutterstock, Inc.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 10 (UPI) -- Four tourists were arrested on charges of public obscenity for taking nude photos atop Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu -- an act some government officials hold responsible for the June 5 earthquake that killed 18 people.

The tourists, -- a Canadian brother and sister, a British woman and a Dutch man, ages 22 to 24 -- were ordered Wednesday to serve four days detention while an investigation is conducted. They could face jail terms of up to three months.


The trekkers were part of a group of 10 who broke away from a larger group as they scaled Mount Kinabalu on May 30. They are accused of disrobing to take photos -- insulting a mountain guide who tried to stop them atop the mountain, which is considered sacred by many.

Some Malaysian officials said the act brought on the earthquake.

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"There is almost certainly a connection. We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected," said Joseph Pairin Kitingan, deputy chief minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah, which includes Mount Kinabalu, Malay Mail Online reported.


Officials have been searching for the others in the group, but some may have left the country, according Ronny Cham, the lawyer for the detained tourists.

"Oh, Malaysia, why are your politicians so stupid?" Emil Kaminski, believed to be among those in the group, wrote on Facebook. "Some deranged [expletive] has linked earthquakes and mountaintop nudity."

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Kaminski posted photos of the group on Facebook and posted a video called "Trolling Malaysia" to YouTube, fanning the flames of resentment by many Malaysians.

Comments on Kaminski's Facebook include: "Rest in hell emil" and "i hope u die soon! Moron! U kill our people! U will never get out from our country! We will hunt u!"

Mount Kinabalu. Time of my life.

Posted by Emil Kaminski on Sunday, June 7, 2015

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