A female British tourist was arrested by the Maldives police for wearing a bikini.
The woman was arrested on the non-resort island of Maafushi, part of the Kaafu atoll in the Indian Ocean nation.
In the video of the incident, you can see the tourist wearing a black bikini and speaking with a British accent, struggling against 3 police officers who are dragging her away from the beach.
In the same video, a police officer can be seen holding a beach towel trying to cover her up.
The arrest forced the police commissioner of the Maldives police to release a public apology after the video of the incident viral on social media.
Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed released a statement for the incident, where he said, “Incident in Maafushi in which our officers restrained a female tourist seems to be badly handled.”
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.
— Mohamed Hameed (@M_Hameedh) February 6, 2020
He added, “I apologize to the tourist and the public for this. The challenge I have taken up is to professionalize the police service and we are working on that.”
Commissioner Hameed said the matter is currently being investigated.
The Maldives police said in a statement that the police were called to reports of an inappropriately clad and inebriated female tourist on the island of Maafushi.
The visitors were asked to respect the cultural sensitivities of the people.
The foreign office of the United Kingdom advises travelers to understand that Maldives is an Islamic country.
The foreign office said, “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.”
They added, “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.”
An official statement was released by the Maldives police, where they said:
“On 6th of February 2020 at approximately 17.48hrs, the local police on the island of Maafushi received a complaint from a member of the public that a female tourist, who was inappropriately clad and alleged to have been inebriated, was walking on the island’s main road. Tourists on local islands are requested to respect the communities 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 the local regulations. However, she refused to comply and showed resistance. She was then 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 apologises 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 the Professional Standards Command of the Maldives Police Service was dispatched to Maafusi 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.”
The woman in the video was released by the police later that day without any charges on her name.