A University of Southampton graduate has been arrested in Malaysia after posing naked on top of a mountain.
Eleanor Hawkins, who obtained a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 2014, had been travelling in South-East Asia since January.
The incident, locals claim, has “upset the Gods” and was the reason an earthquake struck days after, killing 18 climbers on the mountain. Eleanor’s father, Timothy Hawkins, told the Telegraph: “She’s pretty scared and upset. We really hope they don’t try and make an example of her”.
She was part of a group that took the photo on top of Mount Kinabalu. The official complaint to police says their guide told them not to do it, but they reportedly replied: “Stupid man, go to hell”.
Park rangers complained to the police about the incident which happened on 30 May. Ms. Hawkins was arrested on Tuesday, and three Germans and a Dutchman handed themselves in shortly afterwards.
At least six other members of the group are still being sought after.
Ronny Cham, her lawyer in Malaysia, told the Daily Mail: “We don’t know when she’ll next be appearing in court after she was remanded earlier. It could be Friday or next Monday. But she is holding up OK.”
Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, the deputy first minister of Sarawak state, an area near to the mountain, blamed the tourists who took the photo for a recent earthquake which killed eighteen climbers on the mountain. He has led calls for the group to be punished. He told media:
Some places have their own historical background and are sacred to the local community and, as such, visitors to these places should respect the place, the local traditions and cultures.
If we go to a mountain, there is what I call a mountain protocol to be observed. We local people believe that there is someone, the guardians of these places, and there is a form of order of sacredness for those who go to the mountain to respect.
Tribal elders have also called for them to be taken to a native court and charged “10 head of buffalo, according to local customs”. Sabah State’s Minister for Tourism, Masidi Manjun, also blamed the earthquakes on the tourists.
Canadian Emil Kaminski, understood to be the ‘leader’ of the group, reacted angrily to Manjun’s comments on Twitter before being arrested on the 9th of June, calling him a “dildo” and an “idiot”.
Masidi Manjun, a Malaysian tourism minister, blames the earthquake on nudity. Dildo.
— Emil Kaminski ()
He said the reaction to the picture was just Malaysians being “butthurt”.
So much butthurt in Malaysia right now… People do some streaking on a mountain, get blamed for earthquake.
— Emil Kaminski ()
He also put a video on his YouTube channel called “Trolling Malaysia”, in which he suggests to the Minister of Tourism to “lobotomise yourself with heavy machinery”. It currently has over 100,000 views.
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