Malaysia has arrested four tourists who are being investigated for indecent behaviour after lewd photographs taken from the peak of Mount Kinabalu surfaced online.
A few days later, a rare 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck nearby and killed 18 climbers – prompting one of Malaysia’s most senior politicians to say that the tourists’ behaviour was to blame.
One of the four arrested, a Briton, Eleanor Hawkins, 23, was detained on Tuesday at an airport in Borneo as she attempted to fly to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Her father, Timothy Hawkins, has conceded his daughter is “obviously” among the 10 people who appear in the images – but said the situation should not be “blown out of all proportion”.
The businessman, from Derby, added: “It’s fair enough to charge for the misdemeanour committed. What we don’t want is her lumbered with further charges.”
Mr Hawkins also branded one of the other arrested tourists as a “halfwit”, after a Canadian wrote a Facebook post ridiculing “deranged p*****” who linked “earthquakes and mountaintop nudity”.
Mount Kinabalu is sacred to local tribal groups, who believe the peak is the final resting place for the spirits of the departed.
Politicians have said the stunt showed “disrespect to the sacred mountain”, and a special ritual to “appease the mountain spirit” has been arranged following the deadly earthquake.