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A 'British' woman was arrested in the Maldives for her bikini
16:45, 09.02.2020

There are a whole host of different laws abroad, which as a British tourist you may be ignorant to, and which could land you in trouble with the law if you're not clued up. That was recently the case for one woman during her visit to the island of Maafushi, in the Maldives: she has been captured on video being roughly handled by a group of police officers. In the video she can clearly be seen wearing a bikini and is repeatedly heard saying (in a British accent), "You are sexually assaulting me."

In the tough-to-watch footage, the blonde woman is grabbed by three different men in police uniforms, while another man attempts to cover her with a towel or sarong. A press statement released by local police confirmed that she was arrested on 6 February at approximately 5.48pm for being "inappropriately clad" and "inebriated" while walking along a main road of the island.

A dress code as outlined on local website, Maafushi Dive, states that guests must dress modestly "outside of tourist resorts as a sign of respect to the community" and explains that "Maafushi has made special arrangements with the lsland Council for tourists to sunbathe in bikinis [only] on the private tourist beach".Following circulation of the footage, the Maldives Police Service Commissioner, Mohamed Hameed, tweeted about the arrest in question, admitting that it had been "badly handled".

His statement reads: "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." The woman was released without charge later that evening.

The press statement in full says:

"On 6th of February 2020 at approximately 17:48hrs, the local police on the island of Maafushi received a complaint from a member of public that a female tourist, who was inappropriately clad and alleged to have been inebriated, was walking along the island's main road. Tourists, on local islands are requested to respect the community's cultural sensitivities and local regulations by restricting the wearing of swimwear to certain areas of the island where local communities live.

Three officers approached the tourist and requested her to comply with local regulations. However, she refused to comply and showed resistance. She was detained and taken to Maafushi Police station. She was released from the station at approximately 19:10hrs that evening without any charges.
Maldives Police Services sincerely apologizes to the tourist and the public for the regretful manner in which this incident took place. A full inquiry has been initiated to ensure that disproportionate measures are not implemented in such situations and assures the public and the family that action will be taken against any violations following the findings of the inquiry.

A team of Professional Standard Command of the Maldives Police Service was dispatched to Maafushi last night and is expected to report to the Commissioner on its findings in the next two days.
The safety and security of our country including both residents and visitors alike are of paramount importance to us. Which is why we would like to remind the many visitors who come to our country to be mindful of local sensitivities when visiting inhabited islands."

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