Malaysia tourist arrests: British traveller Eleanor Hawkins appears in court for 'stripping naked and causing quake on Mount Kinabalu'

Four of a group of around 10 trekkers have been arrested

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The Independent Online

The father of a British woman arrested for allegedly posing naked atop a sacred mountain in Malaysia has pleaded with authorities to set his daughter free.

Eleanor Hawkins, from Derby, was among four Western tourists to be detained after being accused of posing naked for a photo on Mount Kinabalu.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu told Malaysia's official news agency Bernama that the region's indigenous people believed that the group of around 10 foreigners had “angered the spirit” of Mount Kinabalu, and triggered the earthquake a week later which killed 18 climbers.

Ms Hawkins - whose age has been conflictingly reported as 23 and 24 by different news outlets - was arrested at Sabah airport on Tuesday while trying to fly to Kuala Lumpur. Her detention came after police obtained a court order to detain the members of the group for four days pending inquiries into alleged indecent behaviour.

Footage showing Eleanor Hawkins appearing in a Malaysian court (YouTube)

A Dutch male, Dylan Snel, and two Canadian siblings, Lindsey Petersen and Danielle Petersen, handed themselves into a police station in Sabah on Tuesday evening, state police chief Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said.

Ms Hawkin’s father, Tim Hawkins, has urged the Malaysian authorities to offer his daughter clemency.

He told the Guardian: “I would like to appeal to the Malaysian authorities. I have got every faith in their judicial system. I just hope they don’t make an example of them after the tragic earthquake.”

He added that his daughter was “obviously upset” and “scared” when he spoken to her on Wednesday morning.

Ronny Cham, Ms Hawkins’ lawyer, told MailOnline she is “holding up well”, and said she was remanded on Wednesday after appearing in court, and may be called up again on Friday or next Monday.

Ms Hawkins attended the independent Ockbrook school in Derbyshire, and graduated with four As at A-level before studying Aviation and Aerospace at the University of Southampton, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Explaining the detentions, Mr Jabu warned visitors to the Unesco-listed Mount Kinabalu National Park to “always respect” local cultures and religions.

“Some places have their own historical background and are sacred to the local community and, as such, visitors to these places should respect the place, the local traditions and cultures,“ he said.