Canadians plead guilty in Malaysian nudity case; lawyer says they are remorseful

Two Canadians and two other westerners who posed naked on Malaysia’s highest peak were sentenced to three days in jail and fined for obscene behaviour in a public place, their lawyer said Friday.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Two Canadians and two other westerners who posed naked on Malaysia’s highest peak were sentenced to three days in jail and fined for obscene behaviour in a public place, their lawyer said Friday.

“They were remorseful and regretted their act, and had offered a public apology during mitigation,” said lawyer Ronny Cham.

The four were among 10 foreigners who stripped naked and took photos on Mount Kinabalu on May 30.

A local official has said their behaviour was disrespectful to the mountain, which is believed to be sacred, and caused an earthquake on June 5 that killed 18 climbers.

The two Canadians were Saskatchewan siblings Lindsey Petersen and Danielle Petersen. The other two westerners were Dutch citizen Dylan Snel and British student Eleanor Hawkins.

The four pleaded guilty in a court in Sabah state on Borneo island to a charge of public indecency, said Cham.

The court was told the women were topless while the two men were totally nude, he said.

The court sentenced them to three days in jail and a fine of the equivalent of more than $1,600 Canadian each, to be followed by their deportation, Cham said.

They have paid their fines and expected to be released later Friday because of the time they have already spent in jail since their arrests earlier this week, he said.

Some reports said they were freed immediately.

Hawkins was scheduled to fly home Saturday, but the lawyer couldn’t say when the others would leave.

The Malay Mail online news portal said the court was told the group of 10 had challenged each other to see who could remain naked the longest in the cold.

They ignored a plea by their mountain guide not to strip, it said.

Cham said the four had suffered enough trauma and that extensive international news coverage would deter others.

The Guardian newspaper reported Danielle Peterson arrived in court handcuffed to Hawkins while Lindsey Peterson arrived handcuffed to Snel.

Prosecutor Jamil Aripin agreed that there was no link between the earthquake and their act but said it had outraged the local community, The Malay Mail online news portal said.

The magnitude-5.9 earthquake sent rocks and boulders raining down on trekking routes on the 4,095-meter mountain. The victims were nine Singaporeans, six Malaysians, a Filipino, a Chinese and a Japanese.

The quake damaged roads and buildings and also broke one of the famous twin rock formations on the mountain known as the “Donkey’s Ears.”

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the tragedy on the foreigners for having shown disrespect to the mountain, believed by local tribes to be a resting place for the dead. He said a special ritual will be conducted to appease the mountain spirits.

The incident became an international talking point, including a Twitter exchange between the head of the tourism department for the state of Sabah and Emil Kaminski, a man who posted video and photos about the issue.

Kaminski — whose comments were widely reported, including by The Canadian Press — said in a later video that he wasn’t part of the group and wasn’t in Malaysia at the time.

Just Posted

Schizophrenia a misunderstood illness, an Alberta expert says

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta campaign kickoff features TSN’s Michael Landsberg in Central Alberta

WATCH: Collecting coats and donations from drivers in Red Deer

Central Albertans made donations to keep children warm and neighbourhoods safe from… Continue reading

PHOTO: Fall Harvest Festival in Red Deer’s West Park

The West Park Community Association hosted the Fall Harvest Festival near West… Continue reading

Man dies in Hwy 2 collision near Ponoka

A 46-year-old man is dead following a three-vehicle collision on Hwy 2… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort aiming to open Nov. 10

The finishing touches are being put on Canyon Ski Resort trails just… Continue reading

WATCH: Blackfalds Fire teaches families about fire safety

An open house was held Saturday in support of Fire Prevention Week

Five things about what’s legal and what’s not in Canada’s new pot law

OTTAWA — Canada’s new law legalizing recreational cannabis goes into force on… Continue reading

4 men killed in shooting at child’s birthday party in Texas

DALLAS — An argument at a toddler’s birthday party in South Texas… Continue reading

German bus crashes on Swiss highway, 1 dead and 14 injured

BERLIN — A German bus crashed into a metal post on a… Continue reading

4 days after storm, large swath of Panhandle suffering

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped… Continue reading

Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents

HOUSTON — Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station… Continue reading

Unicorns and pipelines: Notley and enviro-activist square off on Trans Mountain

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, with her arch pipeline foe sitting… Continue reading

A year into #MeToo, survivors’ stories resonate online and off: experts

Jenny Wright remembers scrolling through her social media feed a year ago… Continue reading

Emergency buzzer had been disabled in young man’s prison death: report

HALIFAX — An emergency intercom in the jail unit of a young… Continue reading

Most Read