Nine held for stripping down to briefs bearing Malaysia flag

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police have arrested nine Australian men who stripped during Sunday's Formula 1 Grand Prix race to reveal underwear bearing a Malaysia-flag print.

The spectators were arrested around the time the race ended on Sunday afternoon and were being investigated for "intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace" and public indecency, state news agency Bernama quoted police as saying yesterday.

The nine men, aged between 25 and 29, would be held in remand for four days, Mr Abdul Aziz Ali, police chief of the Selangor town of Sepang, told Bernama.

Mr Abdul Aziz said the Australians were tourists who had come to watch the Malaysian Grand Prix, held at the Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur.

They were apparently intoxicated when they reportedly undressed and began to dance in front of thousands of spectators after Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo won Sunday's race.

Photographs of the men flaunting Malaysia's national colours on their posterior went viral in Malaysia following the race, provoking angry comments from some social media users who accused them of insulting the country.

The offending underwear is apparently sold by an Australian swimwear label and available online. The briefs, made with polyester fabric, cost A$55 (S$57) at the online store.

Besides the Malaysian flag design, there are also briefs adorned with flags from Brazil, the United States, France, Sweden and Japan, among others.

Displays of public indecency are not tolerated by the authorities in Malaysia, with foreign offenders typically assessed a fine before being deported.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Nine held for stripping down to briefs bearing Malaysia flag'. Print Edition | Subscribe