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KOTA KINABALU, June 2 — The group of 10 tourists, believed to include two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national, who stripped naked for photographs at the peak of Mount Kinabalu allegedly called their mountain guide “stupid” and told him to “go to hell” when he attempted to stop them from removing their clothes.
Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais said that the guide was in charge of a group of 27 Europeans during an expedition on May 30 and about 10 from the group — six men and four women — broke away to pose for pictures in South Peak, on the west side of the summit’s plateau.
“The guide involved said he had approached the group and told them not to do it but was rebuffed with the words ‘stupid’ and ‘go to hell’,” said Jamili when contacted by Malay Mail Online.
“Unfortunately, the guide did not report the incident right away for action to be taken on the same day.
“We have since lodged a police report for further investigations to be taken against the climbers,” he said, adding that the guide involved was also reprimanded for not reporting the incident earlier.
Jamili said they have identified five out of the 10 climbers involved in the nude photographs — two Dutch nationals, two Canadians and a German — and have passed the information to the police to decide if action will be taken.
On Saturday, several images posted on Facebook and spread through Whatsapp showing a group of Caucasian-looking adults in various states of undress, posing on Mount Kinabalu.
The photos drew divided opinions from the public, with some outraged at the display of indecency while others defended their actions claiming they were “just having fun”.
Jamili said that they have never had to deal with such incidences, although men taking off their shirts were common.
He said they believed this is part of a puzzling travel trend to get naked at world heritage sites and such incidences have been occurring in Machu Picchu in Peru, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, with the latter incident resulting in two American tourists deported.
“Otherwise why would anyone take off their clothes in the cold weather up there?” he said.
He said that the Sabah Parks Enactment did not cover such an offence but will be considered in the future.
“Meanwhile, we rely on the police to investigate incidences of gross indecency in public,” he said.
To prevent such incidents from recurring, Jamili said they would put up signages at the headquarters and strategic spots warning against such behaviour, as well as include a new clause in the “Dos and Don’ts” briefing by the mountain guides.
Mount Kinabalu, part of the Kinabalu Park Unesco World Heritage Site, is sacred to the locals, some of whom deem it the final resting place of their ancestors.
The local Dusun community still hold yearly sacrificial rituals to appease the spirits and ask for permission for the safety of their climbers.
Local guides who accompany climbers often brief them on the traditional “do’s and don’ts” which include no plucking of plants, no removal of stones from the mountain, no speaking loudly and inappropriately and do “ask for permission” before relieving one’s self.
The incident is reminiscent of the Penang “Nude Sports Games” last year, which led to six Malaysians each being jailed a month and fined RM5,000.
One was jailed an additional six months for recording the event.