Australians arrested for stripping down to briefs at Malaysian F1

Spectators with swimwear bearing the Malaysian flag pose for pictures during the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

Story highlights

  • Malaysia's Deputy Home Minister criticizes strippers
  • Nine men are being investigated for indecent behavior in a public place

(CNN)Malaysian police have arrested a group of Australian men after they stripped down to reveal underwear emblazoned with the Malaysian flag at the country's Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Aussies removed their clothes and revealed their tight briefs -- colloquially known as "budgie smugglers" -- after Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Sepang Formula 1 Grand Prix.
    They were allegedly intoxicated and celebrating the Australian's fourth career F1 win, according to CNN affiliate, Seven Network.
    Malaysia's Deputy Home Minister, Nur Jazlan Mohamed, told reporters Tuesday that while the country welcomed visitors, it did not appreciate the intention to "commit indecent acts to embarrass" Malaysians.
    "I think that's not how visitors should respond to our good treatment," said the minister.
    The spectators were arrested around the time the race ended on Sunday.
    Sepang police chief, Abdul Aziz Ali, told state news agency Bernama that the nine men would be held for four days and were being investigated for indecent behavior in a public place.
    Photographs of the men went viral on Sunday drawing an angry response from Malaysians online, who felt the Australians' behavior was "tantamount to insulting the country," Bernama said.
    Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to a group of Australians arrested in Malaysia but declined to give further information because of privacy concerns.

    Government adviser arrested

    Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer, Datuk Razlan Razali, didn't hold back in his condemnation of the spectators' behavior.
    He accused the men, aged between 25 and 29, of being "foreigners with no sense of cultural sensitivity or respect," saying they deserved to be investigated and "locked up."
    "It embarrasses their own country as well, and gives Australians a bad name," Razali told the New Straits Times.
    To add insult to injury, Australian media reported Tuesday that a government adviser was among those arrested. According to the Advertiser newspaper, one of the group is a defense innovation adviser to the Minster for Defense Industry, Christopher Pyne.
    Pyne is a well-known figure in Australian politics and a frontbencher within Prime Minister Turnbull's government.
    A spokeswoman for Pyne told Seven Network that the matter was being "handled appropriately by the Australian High Commissioner."
    "Until we have a clearer picture of the process at hand, it would be unwise to comment further," she said.

    Not tolerated

    Authorities take a firm stance on public indecency in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
    In May 2015, four foreign hikers were arrested for stripping naked and posing for photos on Mount Kinabalu, a Malaysian mountain that is considered sacred.
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    Local residents said their behavior had angered the spirit of the mountain and caused an earthquake that killed 16 people.
    The backpackers were fined 5,000 Malaysian ringgit, about $1,332 each, and sentenced to three days in prison after pleading guilty to "committing an obscene act."