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Beer drinking model to get caned in Malaysia

Religious police call time on beach party

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A Malaysian model faces six lashes of the cane for drinking beer at a beach resort in the mainly Muslim country.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, was busted last year at a hotel nightclub at Cherating in Pahang state, during a raid by the state's religious department, The Telegraph reports.

She 'fessed up to drinking beer, putting her on the wrong side of the state's prohibition laws. She was hit with an £860 fine and sentenced to six lashes, a sentence which is due to be carried out at a women's prison next week.

According to The Telegraph she could have been handed a jail term of three years, and chose not to appeal the sentence in an effort to get things over and done with.

Malaysia reportedly uses canings as a punishment for a range of offences, both for the Muslim majority, and other religious groups. The cane, which the Telegraph says by law is "no thicker than the little finger", is applied to the buttocks.

However, Shukarno is the first woman to be caned for drinking beer in the state, and the punishment is being seen as a sign of the increased influence of hardline Islam in the country.

Your correspondent was offered the opportunity to participate in some corporal punishment while travelling in Malaysia some years ago. In that instance, the perp was a youth who'd been caught pickpocketing and who had been tied to a lamppost at a Mosque by a policeman.

When the locals spotted a Westerner, they thought it only fair that he be given the chance to dole out some punishment, given that Westerners are presumed to be pickpockets' favoured victims. And given that Westerners are on average larger than Malaysians, they presumably would have found the spectacle more entertaining.

While always respectful of local customs, on this occasion your correspondent demurred, leaving the policeman to deal with the issue in the traditional manner. ®

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