Formula One strip: Bishop condemns 'blokey behaviour'


EVEN the full power of the Australian Government may not be enough to save a group of drunken race fans from being charged in Malaysia, after they celebrated by wearing the nation's flag as speedos.

Of the nine facing charges for stripping down at the Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, one is Jack Walker, an advisor to Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.

But his high-profile connections will not necessarily help him and his mates out of this jam.

The group dropped their pants after Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the event in Sepang.

They may now be charged for "intentional insult" which includes a minimum fine or a maximum jail term of two years.

Authorities are considering whether to charge the group with a lesser charge of insulting Malaysia's national emblem -- with a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
 

Sepang assistant police commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali said police had the evidence to charge them.

Because the act was captured on camera, he said there "will be no problem in charging them".

They are now receiving help from the Australian consulate in Malaysia and have counsel to support them.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Nine on Wednesday that while the act could be seen as a prank in Australia, Malaysia may see it differently.

"They are facing certain charges and what might be seen as a foolish prank or Aussie blokey behaviour in Australia can be seen very differently in another country," Ms Bishop said.

"I don't know that it will be seen as a lapse of judgment. It was clearly premeditated. They were wearing the budgie smugglers and had bought them in Australia.

"The Australian government can provide consular support but as I constantly remind people, we can't bail you out if you get into trouble with the laws of another country.

"We can't interfere with the legal proceedings of another country any more than a foreign government could interfere in our legal proceedings."

Ms Bishop said there are 1300 Australians under arrest around the world, and a further 350 in jail, all requiring government assistance.


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