A Chinese couple on their honeymoon in Sabah, Malaysia, at the beginning of September has reported finding a hidden camera in their Airbnb room.
The two shared the experience in a social media post on the Chinese Xiaohongshu platform, under the username of Zhenmei Beauty. They said they arrived at the property at 3am and decided to check for any cameras and found a hidden one placed between two USB ports in a wall socket, “facing the bed”.
The couple said they went to the police the next day and were asked to delete the social media post, which they did. However, Kota Kinabalu police chief assistant commissioner, Mohd Zaidi Abdullah, later denied the couple were asked to delete their posts. Upon their return to China, the two decided to make another post to raise awareness about travel safety.
Zaidi confirmed for local media that an investigation has been launched and the property in question has been searched, resulting in the seizure of “several items” and now “efforts are under way to identity the suspect(s) involved”. The investigation is opened under the “insult to modesty” claim, which, according to Malaysian law, is punishable with a fine and up to 5 years in jail.
Stern and appropriate punishment should be imposed on any party found guilty because this kind of reprehensible act not only violates the laws, but also affects the image of the country’s tourism industry.Tiong King Sing, Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture
“There is no denying that things such as this may happen due to the personal actions of irresponsible homestay or Airbnb workers”, Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tiong King Sing, responded to the incident. “(The ministry) will not compromise on such an incident and will continue to monitor from time to time.”
The honeymooners said they immediately submitted a report on Airbnb and initially received no answer form the host. When the host answered, they accused the couple of “smearing” them online. Ultimately, the two received a refund and the listing was taken off the platform, but the couple mentioned in their social media post that other listings from the same host were still available.
Airbnb’s general manager for India, South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan has however indicated that the host’s account and listings have been removed pending the results of the investigation. “We ban hidden cameras and were disappointed to hear of this reported incident. While safety incidents are rare on Airbnb, we take reports such as these seriously, and we have been providing support to our guest”, the manager said in a statement.