The chief of the Maldives Police has apologised after a video surfaced of a woman tourist in a bikini being manhandled.
A video on social media shows three men grappling with a bikini-clad woman on the island of Maafushi as she yells in a British accent: “You’re sexually assaulting me.” Another man is seen covering part of her body with a towel as she is moved away.
Police said the incident happened while she was being detained by three officers. Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed said in a Twitter post on Friday, "Incident in Maafushi in which our officers restrained a female tourist seems to be badly handled. The challenge I have taken up is to professionalise the police service & we are working on that.”
Maafushi is a popular tourist destination where wearing bikinis is 'strictly prohibited' outside holiday resorts.
Police said local people alerted them that an “inappropriately clad” woman in inebriated condition was walking on the island's main road shortly after 5pm on Thursday. According to police, the woman told the officers she was British, but did not show them her passport. The woman was released on Thursday night without being charged.
Police service said they are looking into the incident. "Maldives Police Services sincerely apologises to the tourist and the public for the regretful manner in which this incident took place," said the spokesman. Police advised visitors to the country should be “mindful of local sensitivities”.
Police also said they will ensure that disproportionate measures are not implemented in such situations.