Aussies in Malaysia face further wait
At least three of the nine Australian men who were arrested for sporting Malaysian-flag budgie smugglers at the Grand Prix have checked into flights at Kuala Lumpur airport.
Just hours after they stood handcuffed in front of a judge at Sepang Magistrates Court and apologised for their "folly" in unveiling the swimming briefs, the trio were at the airport checking into a flight bound for Singapore.
They made no comment as they made their way to immigration.
When the others are leaving is not yet clear.
Having pleaded guilty to being a public nuisance the nine men, including Jack Walker - staffer of Australia's Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne - walked free on Thursday with no conviction but a caution.
Judge Harith Sham said regardless of their intention, the men had disrespected Malaysia by displaying the country's national flag on their buttocks and he hoped their arrest and detention would be a reminder about respecting the culture and customs of the places they visit.
In a public apology read out in court, the group of well-to-do professionals all aged in their 20s said they too had a fondness of their country's flag.
But because of "cultural differences" the way this was displayed back home in Australia was clearly not the same.
Their Malaysian counsel Shafee Abdullah said the men - some of them lifesavers - didn't "blink an eye" when baring the swimming briefs and were ignorant of how offensive this would be deemed in the conservative Southeast Asian nation.
Mr Abdullah told the court that on Australia Day people were "encouraged" to sport bikinis and swimmers with the national flag.
"They have spent four nights in a 'not very friendly lock-up'", he added.
"I think they would have learned their lesson more than enough."
Mr Abdullah said conservative Malaysians were "a bit upset" by the stunt.
"I think we have taken care of that with an unconditional apology," he said outside court.
During their appearance, one of the men, Thomas Whitworth, collapsed and had to be assisted by his co-accused Walker.
The men - who also included Branden Stobbs, Edward Leaney, Nicolas Kelly, Thomas Laslett, James Paver, Adam Pasfield and Timonthy Yates - said nothing as they walked to two separate cars.
Jack Walker's father John Walker said they would go home and "resume their lives".
"We are just relieved the boys are out of danger," he told reporters following the ruling.
The judgement comes days after police said the group could be charged with more serious offences, including public indecency that carries with it a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
In court, Mr Abdullah was keen to stress the good families the 'professionals' had come from, saying there were engineers, political aids, successful businessmen and managers of companies.