The defendants – Eleanor Hawkins of Britain, 24, Dutchman Dylan Snel, 23, and Canadian brother and sister Lindsey Petersen, 23, and Danielle Petersen, 22 – entered their pleas in a court in Kota Kinabalu, capital of the state of Sabah.
According to The Star, they were each jailed for three days and fined RM5,000 (S$1,800) in default three months jail. They are said to have served the three-day jail sentences since they had been remanded since Wednesday. It is learnt that they are paying the fine.
Local authorities expressed outrage over the nudity in the remote region. Sabah state’s tourism minister Masidi Manjun said the act was “totally abhorrent and totally unacceptable to be done on a sacred mountain.”
Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin was quoted as admonishing the tourists for showing “disrespect to the sacred mountain,” blaming them for the catastrophe.
Mount Kinabalu is considered sacred by some locals, and the United Nations considers it quite special, too; the park around it has been dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its rich biodiversity.
The tourists face charges of “committing obscene acts in public,” which could carry a maximum sentence of three months in jail or a fine.
A local tribe is said to be preparing a ceremony to appease the spirits. Doane notes that in other more urban parts of Malaysia, the mountain is not considered sacred