Tourists arrested for stripping naked on top of a Malaysian mountain

Detained: British tourist Eleanor Hawkins (pictured moments after her arrest) has been accused of causing a deadly earthquake after ‘upsetting the gods’ by stripping naked on a sacred Malaysian mountain

The British backpacker arrested in Malaysia for stripping naked on top of a mountain and causing a deadly earthquake has been named as Eleanor Hawkins. The former public school head girl is among five Western tourists accused of ‘upsetting the gods’ by posing nude on the country’s highest peak days before an earthquake killed 18 climbers on the mountain.

Eleanor, 24, from Derby, was detained at a Sabah airport yesterday while trying to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

The aerospace engineering student is said to be ‘very upset’ as she sits in a police cell in Borneo facing obscenity charges, which can carry a three-month prison sentence.

Complaints have been expressed by the Malaysian community
Her father, Tim Hawkins, who runs an engineering business in Derby, said his daughter sounded frightened when he spoke to her this morning.

He said: ‘She is obviously upset. She’s pretty scared. But it was good to speak to her.’

He has appealed for the Malaysian authorities to be fair over fears they may try to make an example of her.He told The Guardian: ‘I have got every faith in their judicial system. I just hope they don’t make an example of them after the tragic earthquake.’

She was remanded in custody with three other Western tourists after being ushered into court handcuffed together in purple prison uniforms.Ronny Cham, her lawyer in the regional capital of Kota Kinabalu, told MailOnline: ‘We don’t know when she will next be appearing in court after she was remanded earlier today.

‘It could be Friday or next Monday. But she is holding up OK. I have to talk to her again.’

Miss Hawkins is currently studying for a Masters in aeronautics and aerospace engineering at the University of Southampton after achieving straight As at A-Level at £12,000-a-year Ockbrook School in Derby.

Two years ago, she taught horse riding to teenagers on the Camp America programme in the United States, according to her LinkedIn profile.Eleanor is among five people being held in Malaysia.With her are Canadian Lindsey Petersen, 22, and his sister, Danielle, 23, and a 23-year-old Dutch man, Dylan Snel, who surrendered themselves at a police station in Sabah yesterday evening.

Another Canadian, named as Emil Kaminski, 33, who is understood to be the group’s tour guide, was arrested today.Police obtained a court order to detain them for four days while they’re investigated for indecent behaviour.

The duo’s father, Floyd Petersen, told the National Post he was totally unaware about the alleged incident as they had made no mention of it to him.

He said his son and daughter had called periodically while on the trip but never mentioned doing any sort of stunt while admitting it is not something children were likely to tell their parents.They were believed to be part of a group of 10 people who stripped naked before taking photos at Mount Kinabalu on May 30.The men were completely nude, while most, if not all of the women were topless in the photos, which were circulated on social media.A 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Friday sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on the 4,095m (13,453ft) mountain in Sabah on Borneo island, killing 18 climbers.

The victims were nine Singaporeans, six Malaysians and a Filipino, a Chinese and a Japanese national.Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan has blamed the tragedy on the foreigners for showing ‘disrespect to the sacred mountain’ by posing naked at the peak.

He has said a special ritual will be conducted to ‘appease the mountain spirit.’Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular climbing destination, is considered sacred by Malaysia’s Kadazan Dusun tribal group, who believe it is a resting place for spirits.

The quake damaged roads and buildings, including schools and a hospital on Sabah’s west coast.It also broke one of the twin rock formations on the mountain known as the ‘Donkey’s Ears.’Six other tourists are still apparently at large, according to police.

‘We detained all four of them on Tuesday… and yes we are still searching for the other six tourists, and we will catch them,’ said Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, the police commissioner for the Malaysian State of Sabah where the mountain is located.

Jalaluddin said those detained might be charged for causing public nuisance.

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Source: AP

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