British tourist facing jail for stripping naked on Malaysia mountain

Ruth Doherty
British tourist facing jail for stripping naked on Malaysia mountain
British tourist facing jail for stripping naked on Malaysia mountain



A British woman is among five Western tourists who have been arrested after taking naked photos on a sacred mountain in Malaysia.

Eleanor Hawkins, 24, from Aldershot, was detained on Tuesday at Tawau airport as she was preparing to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

A group of 10 Western tourists posed naked on top of the 13,435-foot Mount Kinabalu in Borneo on 30 May.

The mountain is seen as sacred by Malaysia's Kadazan Dusun tribal group, who believe it is a resting place for spirits, and many locals blame the behaviour for an earthquake that followed in Sabah on 5 June, which killed 18 climbers.

Five of the tourists have so far been arrested, including 23-year-old Canadian Lindsey Peterson and his sister Danielle, 22, a 23-year-old Dutch man, Dylan Thomas, another Canadian, 33-year-old Emil Kaminski, and Brit Eleanor.

Speaking to the Mirror, Eleanor's lawyer Ronny Cham said she is "a bit traumatised" but is "okay because she is being looked after by the British consulate."

The group are being kept separate from Malaysian prisoners, and face obscenity charges, which carry a possible three-month prison sentence.

Mr Cham added: "I asked the court they be held in separate custody from other detainees. Because of the sentiment in this case, we want to protect their safety. People are laying blame on them for offending the mountain. There is a lot of stupidity involved and unfortunately politicians have jumped on the bandwagon to condemn them for causing the earthquake, which is ridiculous."

According to the Daily Telegraph, deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jab, told state media: "Some places have their own historical background and are sacred to the local community and, as such, visitors to these places should respect the place, the local traditions and cultures.

"If we go to a mountain, there is what I call a mountain protocol to be observed. We local people believe that there is someone, the guardians of these places, and there is a form of order of sacredness for those who go to the mountain to respect."

Tindarama Aman Sirom Simbuna, a local elder, said: "To appease the mountain protector, the 10 western tourists who stripped and urinated on Mount Kinabalu should be fined 10 head of buffalo, according to local customs."

Eleanor's father, Tim Hawkins, has asked the Malaysian authorities not to make an example of her. According to the Guardian, he said: "I would like to appeal to the Malaysian authorities. I have got every faith in their judicial system. I just hope they don't make an example of them after the tragic earthquake.

"It is not the kind of situation you envisage when your daughter goes travelling."







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