An earthquake Friday June 5th is being blamed on a group of foreign tourists who decided to disrobe on sacred Mount Kinabalu:
Two Canadians are among a group of foreigners in Malaysia being blamed for a deadly earthquake that struck the country’s highest peak causing landslides and aftershocks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs says it is assisting the two Canadians barred from leaving Malaysia, amid reports that the pair could be charged after allegedly posing naked atop Mount Kinabalu.
Spokesman Nicolas Doire says the department is aware they have been prevented from leaving the country, adding that Canadian consular officials in Malaysia are in contact with local authorities.
Foreign Affairs would not confirm the identity of the Canadians, citing privacy concerns, but Malaysia’s foreign affairs ministry identified them as Lindsey Petersen and his sister Danielle Petersen.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake on Friday sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on 4,095-metre-high Mount Kinabalu in eastern Sabah state on Borneo island.
Search efforts for six missing climbers continued on Sunday, after rescuers recovered 13 dead from a strong earthquake that had trapped scores of trekkers.
Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the tragedy on a group of 10 foreigners who “showed disrespect to the sacred mountain” by posing naked at the peak last week. He said a special ritual would be conducted later to “appease the mountain spirit.”
Officials have said a group of foreigners – including two Canadians – broke away from their entourage and stripped naked before taking photos at the mountain peak on May 30.
Floyd Petersen said he was unaware of the allegations against his son and daughter but said they were travelling through Southeast Asia and had not mentioned the matter to him.
“Would you tell your parents you did this?” he said from his home in Wood Mountain, Sask. on Saturday, adding that the pair called him only periodically from their trip. “I don’t have anything to say. I’m just absorbing this.”
Local media reported Sunday that a senior official with the Sabah Parks said the Canadians could face charges in a native court for allegedly violating local native laws.
The Malaysian Insider reports that Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin told reporters at the Sabah Park headquarters in Kundasang on Sunday that the tourists were in police custody in Kota Kinabalu and could be charged as early as Monday. - Canadians among foreigners blamed for Malaysian earthquake
NOTE: Foreign Affairs in Ottawa confirms that two Canadians have been barred from leaving Malaysia.
“We are aware of reports that two Canadians have been barred from leaving Malaysia,” said Nicolas Doire, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in a statement. Canadian consular officials in Malaysia are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and are providing consular assistance to the Canadian citizens as required,” the statement says.
Due to privacy, Foreign Affairs will not release the names of the two Canadians who are barred from leaving the country but CTV News has learned they are siblings in their 20s from Saskatchewan.
“You did not merely offend, but you spat, and you stomped on our faces,” one local woman wrote in a Facebook post that went viral. But most insultingly, you mocked our heritage. You defiled Aki so proudly. And now, as of today, she is forever deformed. Disfigured. “Aki” refers to the local name for Mount Kinabalu, which means the “the revered place of the dead.” The mountain, in the eastern state of Sabah state in Borneo, is a World Heritage site.
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