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A tourist was fined for wearing a string bikini on a beach in the Philippines, but travellers get punished for the way they dress more often than you might think

Sophie-Claire Hoeller , Business Insider US
 Oct 18, 2019, 06:06 PM
The Philippines' Boracay island recently reopened after a major cleanup operation.
Lars Ruecker/Getty Images
  • A Taiwanese tourist was recently arrested and fined after wearing a bikini that was deemed to be too revealing on the Philippine island of Boracay.
  • According to a report from the state-run Philippines News Agency, when warned about the outfit by the staff at their hotel, the tourist and her boyfriend said it was "a form of art."
  • Police chief Jess Baylon told the news agency that "their customs and traditions are not the same in our country. They have to respect our culture and tradition, and our proper decorum."
  • The woman had to pay around $48 (R719) in fines, according to the Philippines News Agency.
  • This sort of thing happens a lot more often than you think. A woman was recently arrested in Greece after wearing a dress that officials deemed inappropriate, and in 2009 a group of British tourists was fined in Greece after they dressed as nuns.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

On October 9, a Taiwanese tourist was arrested and fined after showing what was deemed to be too much skin at a Philippines beach.

According to the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA), the 26-year-old woman, who was visiting Boracay with her boyfriend, was wearing a string bikini that was considered to be so revealing that hotel staff warned her not to leave wearing it. Boracay Inter-Agency Management and Rehabilitation Group chief Natividad Bernardino told PNA that the couple responded that the outfit "was a form of art," and quite ordinary where they are from.

The Philippines, however, have different cultural norms, and the outfit reportedly went viral when concerned local residents uploaded pictures of it to social media.

Speaking of the tourist and her boyfriend, police chief Jess Baylon told PNA that "their customs and traditions are not the same in our country. They have to respect our culture and tradition, and our proper decorum." Baylon told the news agency that the tourist was fined around $48 (R719) for what she termed as a "display of the erotic and lewd picture."

"We have our own cultural values as Filipinos and Asians," Bernardino said. "They should be able to respect that."

This isn't the first time that people have been fashion-policed while travelling

In August, a travel blogger from London was arrested at the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. Adebola Sowemimo told the Sun that guards deemed her white dress inappropriate.

"I saw other women dressed in much more revealing clothing than I was and they were not targeted," she told the Sun, adding: "I could only assume it was because of the colour of my skin." According to the Sun, she was cleared of sexual indecency in court the next day.

In 2017, male tourists were arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing mankinis, a barely-there outfit made popular by the movie "Borat," in which Sacha Baron Cohen plays a fictional Kazakh TV host who wears one.

The BBC reported that six Czech tourists were posing for pictures in Astana, the country's capital, donning the sheer outfits when they were arrested and fined around $67 (R1,000) for their "indecent appearances."

Similarly, 17 British men were fined in Greece after dressing like nuns in 2009. Apprehended on charges of "scandal and misrepresentation of a costume or uniform," according to the BBC report, they spent the night in a Crete jail cell wearing the offending outfits, before charges against them were dropped the next day.

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