Malaysian officials said a group of 10 European and North American tourists who photographed themselves naked on the mountain caused the quake by provoking the anger of the mountain’s spirits. Mount Kinabalu is considered a sacred site by the local indigenous people who believe spirits of the dead live in the mountain. Locals reportedly hold an annual sacrificial ritual to appease the spirits and ask the spirits to keep climbers safe, the Malay Mail reports.
Malaysia’s State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun told the Agence France-Presse the foreigners’ actions were “totally abhorrent and totally unacceptable to be done on a sacred mountain.”
So far, five tourists have been barred from leaving the country pending “gross indecency” charges, the AP reports.