KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 12 (UPI) -- Four hikers who stripped naked on Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu were sentenced to three days in prison Friday after local officials claimed they angered the mountain spirits and caused a devastating 6.0 magnitude earthquake.
Eleanor Hawkins, 23, from Derby, England, Canadian sisters Danielle and Lindsey Petersen, 22 and 23 respectively, and Dutch national Dylan Snel, 23, pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance. In addition to prison time, they were each fined about $1,550. Prosecutors said getting naked on the mountain, considered a sacred place in Malaysia, brought on the June 5 earthquake that left 18 dead.
Prosecutor Jamil Ariffin said the prison time will act as a deterrent for others who may want to do the same thing.
"Many Malaysians will have seen the photos and their actions have caused annoyance. We expect them to obey the law and respect our culture," he told the court. "Just because we extend our hospitality to them it doesn't give them the right to behave like this."
Prosecutors said the four were part of a group of 10 hikers who climbed the mountain beginning about 5:30 a.m. May 30. At the summit about 6:45 a.m., they challenged each other to take off their clothes, despite warnings against it from the guides. Prosecutors said the two men were nude and the two women were topless.
"Their act on Mount Kinabalu was ignorance of culture, adat and sensitivities of the indigenous people and not ignorance of the law," said attorney Ronny Cham, who was representing the four tourists.
It is unclear if the six other hikers will be prosecuted.