Nine young Australians who stripped down to their underwear bearing the Malaysian flag could face up to two years’ jail for public indecency.
The group had just watched on as Aussie Daniel Ricciardo claimed victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the star driver claiming the men didn't mean to offend.
“I think you gotta be careful where you're doing (underwear celebrations). The rules are different in each country," Ricciardo told Sunrise.
"I guess in Australia probably would have got away with it and it was fine and okay. Obviously it was it was. I don't think they meant any harm by it, they were just enjoying the celebrations.
"For the circumstances the celebration went a bit far for the locals."
According to witnesses, the group were simply enjoying themselves at the international event.
“They weren’t over the top or being aggressive or anything,” witness Steven Hawley said.
“You could tell they were just having a really good time.”
The nine men, Jack Walker, Edward Leaney, Nicholas Kelly, Thomas Laslett, Thomas Whitforth, Brendan Stobs, Timothy Yates, James Paver and Adam Pasfield, took off their clothes after Ricciardo left the podium and exposed their custom Budgy Smuggler underpants.
“So many locals were lining up to get pictures with them because they could see the fun in it,” Mr Hawley said.
But Malaysian authorities were not amused with the group arrested for breaching the peace, public indecency and disrespecting the national flag.
“When (the group) come here with intention to commit indecent acts to embarrass us, I think that’s not how visitors should respond to our good treatment,” Malaysia’s Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said.
Sepang International Circuit boss Datuk Razlan Razali told local media the Aussie men deserved to be “locked up”.
“This shows a huge lack of respect to us as Malaysians; this is stupid behaviour from foreigners who have no sense of cultural sensitivity and respect,” he told the New Straits Times.
“It embarrasses their own country as well, it gives Australians a bad name.”
Mr Hawley, who also travelled to the Formula One event from Perth, said the group only stripped down for five minutes.
“I really didn’t think it would offend the country that much, but I guess they’re quite strict on that type of stuff,” he said.
“It sucks that these guys were just trying to have a good time and celebrating with everyone there.
“Now they’re going to pay the price for something that is acceptable in our country.”
Of the men arrested, Jack Walker is a policy advisor to Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, and a friend of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Budgy Smuggler owner Adam Linforth issued a statement on Tuesday, claiming the men were not part of a coordinated stunt.
“We weren’t aware of the group’s plans when they made the order,” he said.
The men, who are expected to remain in custody until the end of the week, will be deported back to Australia if not charged.