Tourist Arrested For Wearing A Bikini In The Maldives
A tourist has reportedly been arrested in the Maldives for ‘indecent exposure’.
The unnamed woman, who can be heard speaking in a British accent in a clip that has since gone viral on social media, was detained by police officers on a beach on the island of Maafushi, in Kaafu Atoll.
The woman can be heard repeatedly shouting ‘You are sexually assaulting me’, while officers struggle to handcuff her. Another man can be seen trying to cover her up with a towel as she is led away from the area.
Footage of the incident has since sparked outrage on social media, with some claiming the woman had been ‘harassed by the public’ and ‘manhandled’ by officers during the arrest.
As reported by Maldives news service Raajje.mv, the arrest was made on the evening of February 6 at around 5pm local time.
Officers have since revealed she was taken into police custody in handcuffs, and that she had been suspected to be under the influence of alcohol.
Maldives Police Service commissioner, Mohamed Hameed, tweeted a statement in regards to the incident:
Incident in Maafushi in which our officers restrained a female tourist seems to be badly handled. I apologise to the tourist & the public for this.
The challenge I have taken up is to professionalise the police service & we are working on that. This matter is being investigated.
Despite Maafushi being a popular tourism destination, wearing bikinis is reported to be ‘strictly prohibited’ in local islands, as well as the capital city Malé. However, bikinis are still permitted in local resorts.
The UK government advises British tourists travelling to the Republic of Maldives remain ‘sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands’:
Local laws reflect the fact that Maldives is an Islamic country. Violations of local laws may lead to a prison sentence. Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited.
You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
[…] Dress is generally informal but you should be sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands. Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.
This incident is currently under investigation.
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