Maldives apologises to British tourist who was manhandled for wearing a bikini

07:18 PM Feb 11, 2020 |

A British tourist in the Maldives was recently arrested for being 'inappropriately' dressed.

A press release by the Maldives Police Service said that the local police on the island of Maafushi had received a complaint that a female tourist, who was "inappropriately clad and alleged to have been inebriated, was walking on the island's main road. The incident took place on the 6th of February.


She was approached by the police and asked to comply with the local regulations. Following her refusal, she was detained and taken to Maafushi Police station. She was released on the same evening without any charges.


A video of the incident that has since gone viral shows three policemen forcibly grabbing the woman and trying to cover her with a towel. The woman can be heard screaming that the men are "sexually assaulting" her.

In the video, the woman can be seen being crowded by three officials who proceed to grab her and attempt to drape a towel around her even as she twists and tries to break free.

The video has since sparked outrage on social media, with many condemning the police action. Some however were of the sentiment that the woman was not completely blameless.

As the police press statement adds, "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."

Some on social media seem to concur. As one Twitter user put it, "No sympathy! You must respect laws, rules, of every country you visit. If u want to wear a bikini that badly stay in the resort! I don’t understand why people defy the laws on holiday then scream blue murder when they are arrested!"

The woman however "refused to comply and showed resistance". Another video posted on Twitter offers further insight on this.

According to the Twitter user, the woman said that "anyone gets to my personal space they gonna have a problem” and refused to obey they police's request to not commit "indecent exposure in a residential island".

"...and then she assaulted the police officer," the user writes on Twitter.

Following the incident, the Commissioner of the Maldives Police Service, Mohamed Hameed took to Twitter to apologise to the tourist in question, calling the incident "badly handled".

"The challenge I have taken up is to professionalise the police service and we are working on that. This matter is being investigated," he added.

More recently, the Speaker of the Parliament has also apologised to the tourist.

According to a report by The Guardian, the Speaker, Mohamed Nasheed told Parliament that he was extending an apology to the woman.

He also expressed hope that the British tourist who had since left the country would be invited to return by the authorities.

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