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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City council opts to stick with RCMP

Motion to begin transitioning to a municipal police force defeated 6-3

What was said about RCMP versus muncipal policing in Red Deer council chambers:

Some notable quotes from Tuesday’s policing discussions by Red Deer city council:… Continue reading

Prison watchdog decries ‘Indigenization’ of Canada’s correctional system

OTTAWA — The proportion of Indigenous people in federal custody has hit… Continue reading

McConnell backs off, abruptly eases impeachment trial limits

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial… Continue reading

Lineups form outside grocery stores in St. John’s, N.L., on 5th day of emergency

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Emptying kitchen cupboards were restocked in St. John’s,… Continue reading

WATCH: Canadian kid shovelling snow video goes viral

Rory might just be Canada’s most popular toddler right now, thanks to… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Prison watchdog decries ‘Indigenization’ of Canada’s correctional system

OTTAWA — The proportion of Indigenous people in federal custody has hit… Continue reading

McConnell backs off, abruptly eases impeachment trial limits

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial… Continue reading

Lineups form outside grocery stores in St. John’s, N.L., on 5th day of emergency

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Emptying kitchen cupboards were restocked in St. John’s,… Continue reading

Changes to Hall of Fame and a quick entry for Tiger Woods

SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods won’t have to wait until he’s 50… Continue reading

Manitoba’s record-breaking snow maze captures winter’s whimsical charm

ST. ADOLPHE, Man. — It doesn’t take a master sleuth to figure… Continue reading

Allegations bite into business of ‘Africa’s richest woman’

LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese bank EuroBic said it will stop doing business… Continue reading

Most Read