Police arrest Chinese dive instructor over Semporna skinny-dipping

File picture of tourists walking along the beach in Pulau Simunul, off Semporna. The police yesterday arrested a Chinese diving instructor in connection to a new incident involving nude tourists near Semporna. — Picture by Julia Chan
File picture of tourists walking along the beach in Pulau Simunul, off Semporna. The police yesterday arrested a Chinese diving instructor in connection to a new incident involving nude tourists near Semporna. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 22 — Sabah police have arrested a 33 year-old Chinese national in connection to a stripping incident on one of the islands off the east coast town of Semporna here yesterday.

State criminal investigation department chief Datuk Salehhudin Abdul Rahman said that the suspect, a dive instructor identified from a viral photo of a group of naked men posing on an island, was picked up last night at 11.15pm from a rented room in Semporna.

“The suspect has visited Semporna several times, bringing in Chinese tourist groups to dive on the islands around Semporna,” he told reporters here today.

The suspect is being remanded until October 25. The case is being investigated under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code for public indecency, which carries a penalty of up to three months jail, a fine or both.

Several photos circulated on social media show several people in the buff showing their backs to the camera as they stood in shallow waters of a beach while a woman in swim gear stands in front of them.

Other photos showed five men posing nude in a similar setting.

Yesterday, Semporna district police chief superintendent Peter Umbuas said they received reports of Chinese tourists stripping naked at an island near Semporna, with photos being uploaded onto the Internet.

At the time, they were unsure when the photos had been taken, claiming it could have been sometime between two weeks and two years ago, and the tourists from China have returned to their country.

He said they would seek the help of Interpol to identify the people in the photograph, adding that the help of Immigration would also be sought to determine when they had visited Sabah.

Earlier this year, a group of 10 tourists irked locals by stripping naked on Mount Kinabalu, considered a sacred place. On June 12, four of tourists aged between 22 and 24 — of Canadian, Dutch and British nationality — were convicted and sentenced to three days’ jail and fined RM5,000 each.

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