Nine Australian men arrested and held in jail for four days after they stripped down to their swimmers at the Malaysian F1 are free to head home after appearing in court today.
Fairfax Media reports the group, aged between 25 and 29, were convicted of being a public nuisance after pleading guilty to the charge, but escaped with a caution and no conviction was recorded. They did not face the more serious allegation of intentional insult and insulting the national emblem for wearing swimmers printed with the Malaysian flag.
In Sepang magistrate’s court, where they were handcuffed together, they read out an apology and expressed remorse for their actions, saying it was “purely an error of judgment” and “moment of folly”.
“We are truly sorry for disrespecting the Malaysian flag and people,” their statement said.
One of the group, Thomas Whitworth, 28, fainted during the appearance. Jack Walker, 26, an adviser to federal minister Christopher Pyne, was supported by his father in the courtroom.
The group were celebrating Daniel Ricciardo’s first Formula One win in two years, mimicking the Australian driver’s recent “shoey” after another podium finish, drinking beer from their shoes.
The group were wearing swimmers by Sydney-based company Budgy Smuggler, and in a play on the convicted drug smuggling group the Bali 9, became known as the “Budgie 9”.
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