PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The father of a British woman arrested in Sabah for posing nude on top of Mount Kinabalu has pleaded for mercy for his daughter, 24-year-old Eleanor Hawkins.
"She's pretty scared and quite upset," said Mr Timothy Hawkins, who was quoted by the British newspaper The Telegraph on Thursday (June 11).
Mr Hawkins, who owns a mechanical engineering business in the village of Draycott in Derbyshire, told The Telegraph: "We really hope they don't try to make an example of her."
It was reported that Ms Hawkins was touring South-east Asia when she was arrested at Tawau airport as she was about to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur as part of an extended tour of the region following her graduation from the University of Southampton with a master's degree in aeronautical engineering.
The tour, which began in January saw her traveling alone from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam before arriving in Malaysia. She was planning to continue from Malaysia to Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
She had reportedly expressed her love for South-east Asia and Malaysia in particular, saying that Malaysia has " proper palm trees and decent sunsets. It's pretty damn amazing".
On May 30, a group of tourists allegedly stripped naked and indiscriminately urinated atop Kinabalu. They posed for pictures that went viral after they were posted on social media.
Their antics angered Sabah's Kadazandusun tribe who revere the mountain and view them as an insult and desecration of a sacred place.
On Wednesday, two of the four tourists remanded by police for desecrating Mount Kinabalu confessed to going naked while on the mountain. The four were remanded the same day while police hunt for six other tourists who allegedly committed the offence together.
The four were Ms Hawkins, a 23-year-old male and his 22-year-old sister, from Canada; and a 23-year-old Dutchman.
They were remanded until June 13 for investigations under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code for committing obscene acts in a public place. They have yet to be charged in court.
If convicted, they face a maximum three-month jail term or a fine, or both.
Police believe the other six tourists, mostly Europeans, were still in the state.
On June 5, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the mountain and 18 people lost their lives.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that Mr Hawkins had spoken to his daughter on Wednesday (June 10) morning, saying that it was good to speak to her.
He said that his daughter was relieved to be in the hands of the Malaysian authorities after seeing the anger the stunt had created among Malaysians.
"She's kind of relieved because she saw it coming. It's good to know where she is. It is not the kind of situation you envisage when your daughter goes travelling. I have faith in their judicial system," he said.