Malaysian police have arrested a 33-year-old Chinese national in connection with a set of viral nude photos allegedly taken on a tropical island off the coast of the diving haven of Semporna in the prudish Sabah state.
State criminal investigation department chief Datuk Salehhudin Abdul Rahman said that the suspect, a dive instructor, was identified in the set of photos featuring naked men and topless women posing in the shallow waters of the beach. The photos featured 10 tourists, 6 men and 4 women.
The Malay Mail Online reports that the Chinese man was picked up by police at 11:15 p.m. at night from a rented room earlier this week.
“The suspect has visited Semporna several times, bringing in Chinese tourist groups to dive on the islands around Semporna,” police said.
He will be detained until October 25 while the case is being investigated for public indecency, a crime which carries the penalty of up to three months in jail, a fine or both.
According to the Malaysia Chronicle, investigators were first caught wind of the incident when the nude photos started popping up on their Facebook feeds.
“I was informed of this matter by one of the tourism association members, who said that he saw the pictures in Facebook,” said Semporna district officer Dr. Chacho Bulah.
Initially, they were not sure when the pictures had been taken and if the tourists had already fled back to their home country. Bulah said that he would enlist the help of Interpol to identify the people in the photograph.
This incident occurred in the same state where earlier this year a group of 10 tourists disgusted locals by stripping naked atop the sacred Mount Kinabalu. Malaysian authorities later blamed their actions for triggering a deadly earthquake that took place shortly after the photos were taken.
Four of the tourists — of Canadian, Dutch and British nationality — were convicted, sentenced to three days in jail and fined 5,000RMB.
The New Strait Times Online reports that to counteract this kind of behavior, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has advised tour guides and resort operators to make sure that tourists follow local laws. We don’t want another earthquake after all.
“This is nothing new because we have reminded them (tourism players) countless times. I take this very seriously and anyone who is found to have been directly involved will have their license revoked. “Perhaps we will look into implementing a declaration form soon particularly in Semporna for visitors to sign so they will behave appropriately,” he said.
[Images via NetEase]