KOTA KINABALU - The group of foreigners, who created notoriety for posing naked at Mount Kinabalu, were identified as European tourists.
The four women and six men, who were in a group of 27 Europeans climbing the mountain on May 30, left the main group and headed towards South Peak, where they allegedly stripped and ignored warnings and pleas from their guide to stop.
"They called him stupid and (asked him) to go to hell. We don't know if the tourists are still in the state," Sabah Parks director Datuk Jamili Nais said in a statement yesterday.
He added a police report was made on the incident after the guide told the department officers of the incident.
The guide, however, did not report the matter to the Sabah Parks office in Laban Rata, the last stop before the peak.
Jamili said the department was working with the police to take action against the tourists for disrespecting the mountain.
He added it was the first time such an incident had occurred at the tourist spot.
Jamili said the guide had been issued a showcause letter for failing to inform Sabah Parks of the incident.
"We have instructed all the guides to brief climbers that they cannot strip or do any indecent acts on the mountain," he said, adding that signboards would be erected to remind climbers.
The 4,095m-high Mount Kinabalu is a World Heritage site and is sacred to the Kadazandusuns as the "abode of the dead" and should be treated with respect.
The state authorities began their investigation after the postings on Facebook of five foreigners posing naked close to the peak of the mountain went viral on May 30.
It could not be ascertained then when the incident took place or if the incident actually happened, although many Sabahans suspected that those involved might have already left the state before the pictures surfaced online.
"It's pointing to the direction of tourists doing a stripping stunt. We are still investigating," Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said yesterday.
The Sabah incident was similar to the Penang "Nude Sports Games" last year.
Six people were jailed a month and fined RM5,000 (S$1,800), while another person was jailed six months for recording the event.
Tourists stripping naked at historical and religious monuments have been gaining notoriety, with some of them posting those naked moments in blogs like "My Naked Trip" and "Naked at Monuments" social media sites.