KOTA KINABALU • Malaysian police have arrested a dive master based in Semporna, Sabah, after identifying him as one of a group of people, including tourists from China, who posed nude in photos that went viral on social media.
The pictures showed the men unclothed and the women topless, raising an uproar in Sabah.
The 33-year-old dive master from China was nabbed at a rented room in Semporna at about 11.15pm on Wednesday.
"Anyone found acting obscenely in a public area is punishable under the law, and can be jailed up to three months, or fined, or both, if found guilty," said Sabah Criminal Investigation Department chief Salehuddin Abdul Rahman.
In an earlier case, photographs of European tourists stripping naked at the peak of Mount Kinabalu caused a stir when they went viral in May. Sabah residents said the visitors had been disrespectful of the local culture.
Four of the identified nudists - a Briton, a Dutchman and two Canadians - were charged in court and sentenced to three days in jail and then ordered to leave Sabah.
The latest incident is believed to have taken place in Sibuan, an island off Semporna, which faces the southern Philippines.
One of the pictures showed three topless women photographed from behind, while another showed seven naked men photographed from behind, and a woman in a bra and shorts facing the camera.
Semporna police chief Peter Umbuas said it was unclear when the stripping incident took place, saying that it could have occurred two weeks ago or as far back as in 2013.
He advised tour and resort operators to brief tourists about the country's laws on stripping, and to make them aware of the sensitivities of local communities.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK