Maldives police chief apologises over footage of bikini-clad tourist being arrested on Maafushi island


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A bikini-clad tourist has been arrested in the Maldives, prompting a public apology from the country’s police chief.

Footage of the incident shared on social media shows the woman, with a British accent, thrashing as she is detained by at least three officers on the island of Maafushi.

As they struggle to put her in handcuffs, she can be heard shouting in English: “You are sexually assaulting me.”

Another man covers part of her body with a small towel as she is led away.

The woman can be heard shouting as she struggles against the three officers (@MvCrisis/Twitter)

Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed issued a statement following the arrest saying it appeared to have been “badly handled”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Incident in Maafushi in which our officers restrained a female tourist seems to be badly handled. I apologise to the tourist and 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.”

Local news site reported that the woman was arrested shortly after 5pm local time on Thursday for “indecent exposure”.

It added that police suspected the woman to be “under the influence of alcohol”.

While Maafushi is a popular tourist location, wearing bikinis is “strictly prohibited” on local islands other than in specified areas, online tourist information states.

The UK Government’s travel advice for the Republic of Maldives states that visitors to the Indian Ocean country should be “sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands”.

It reminds holidaymakers that it is an Islamic country and that tourists should “respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times”.

The country is made up of about 1,200 small islands and is located about 400 miles south-west of Sri Lanka.

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