Maldives police chief apologises for 'badly handled' arrest of bikini-clad tourist

·2 min read

Police in the Maldives have apologised after a video emerged of a bikini-clad tourist being arrested.

The video shows a woman with a British accent being detained by at least three officers on the island of Maafushi in the Kaafu atoll.

In the footage she can be heard shouting: “You are sexually assaulting me” as police put her in handcuffs before leading her away while another man can be seen covering her with a towel.

Picture six in a sequence of seven. Screengrab from video taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @MvCrisis which shows a tourist in a bikini being detained by at least three officers on the island of Maafushi, in the Kaafu atoll.
Police in the Maldives have apologised after footage emerged of a bikini-clad woman being detained by police (Picture: PA)
Video footage showed three officers leading the woman away (Picture: PA/@MvCrisis)
Video footage showed three officers leading the woman away (Picture: PA/@MvCrisis)

The incident has prompted a public apology from the Maldives police chief.

Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed said the incident appeared to have been “badly handled” by officers.


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He said in a Twitter post: “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.”

According to the country’s local news service the woman, who police suspected was “under the influence of alcohol”, was arrested just after 5pm local time on Thursday for “indecent exposure”. reported that, while Maafushi is a popular tourist location and bikinis are permitted in holiday resorts, they are “strictly prohibited” on local islands.

Maafushi Island, Maldives - November 26, 2019: Welcome sign for the island of Maafushi, a tourist and local island with hotels, resorts and shops
Bikinis are prohibited on local islands on Maafushi (Picture: Getty)

The UK Government’s travel advice for the Republic of Maldives advises tourists to be “sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands”.

It says the destination is an Islamic country and tourists should “respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times”.

It’s not the first time tourists in bikinis have found themselves in hot water - in October a female tourist was fined for wearing a tiny bikini on holiday in the Philippines.

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