Malaysia quake: British woman pleads guilty to public nuisance

Kuala Lumpur, June 12 (IANS) A British female backpacker among a group blamed for triggering an earthquake by posing naked on Malaysia’a sacred Mount Kinabalu pleaded guilty on Friday to public nuisance allegations.

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the 13,400-foot-high mountain on June 5, killing 18 people and leaving hundreds stranded, the Malaysian Star reported.

Eleanor Hawkins, 23, is one of the four Westerners — the others being Dutch national Dylan Snel, 23, and Canadian siblings Lindsey, 23, and Danielle Petersen, 22 — arrested after photos emerged of them allegedly stripping naked on Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.

They were remanded on Wednesday for committing an obscene act in a public place.

If convicted, they face a maximum of three months’ jail term or a fine, or both.

Hawkins was arrested at the Tawau airport on Tuesday and flown to Kota Kinabalu. Snel, together with Lindsey and Danielle, surrendered themselves the same evening.

The four were among 10 tourists, mostly Europeans, who had climbed the mountain together with 27 other tourists on May 29.

A photo of 10 of them stripping on the mountain on May 30 went viral on the social media and in the aftermath of the June 5 earthquake, local native leaders have blamed the earthquake on the antics of the tourists.

The indigenous people believe that Mount Kinabalu is sacred and any act of disrespect to the spirits of the mountain may result in a bad omen.

Ethnic leaders are preparing rituals to appease the spirits of the mountain this weekend.

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