KOTA KINABALU, June 8 — Police have arrested one tourist from the group of 10 who stripped naked on Mount Kinabalu and posed for photographs in the nude.
According to the source who confirmed the arrest, the individual will be sent to Ranau district to be charged.
“The case is being handled by the headquarters and Ranau criminal investigations department,” the source told Malay Mail Online.
Later, State Criminal Investigations department chief Datuk Salehhudin Abdul Rahman said that police had apprehended one 38-year-old European male who had arrived from Tawau at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
He said police approached the man, who was thinking of travelling to the Philippines, and took him in for questioning.
“Initial investigations found that he was on the mountain during the incident but he wasn’t one of those who had stripped.
“He was there on another part of the mountain,” said Salehhudin, and added that he was released after his statement was taken.
It is unclear whether the man was the same one who was earlier said to have been arrested.
Canadian media reported yesterday that two Canadian siblings, Lindsey, 23 and Danielle Peterson, 22 were barred from leaving the country for the same charges. Police would not confirm or deny the arrests.
Salehhudin also said that they were investigating another Facebook user suspected to have been one of the strippers based on his Facebook and social media posts.
User Emil Kaminski who goes under the Twitter handle @monkeetimevideo had mocked state officials for blaming the earthquake on the nude incident while posting photos of a butt-naked man on the peak of other mountains.
“We are investigating the postings,” said Salehhudin.
On May 30, 10 foreign tourists had allegedly broken away from their entourage of 27 and stripped naked for photos on Mount Kinabalu’s South peak. When warned against it by their guide, they had called him “stupid” and told him to “go to hell”.
Authorities said they had identified five of the 10 culprits — two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national.
The act angered many Sabahans and the local Dusun community who consider it a sacred site and believe it to be the final resting place of their ancestors.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, in linking the “indecent and uncivilised” act to the earthquake said the mountain’s spirit was angered by the disrespect adding that the culprits should be brought to native court and charged.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said he was told that the siblings were detained by police but did not offer more details other than to say “when we find them, we’ll know what to do with them.”