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Emil Kaminski shared this photo on his Facebook page with the caption: "Mount Kinabalu. Time of my life. — with Sam Livings and Daniel Livings at Mount Kinabalu."Emil Kaminski

Dressed in similar purple jail uniforms, four foreigners – including two Canadians – appeared Wednesday in a Malaysian court on the island of Borneo, as authorities investigated them for posing naked atop a mountain locals consider sacred.

The four, including siblings Danielle and Lindsey Petersen from Saskatchewan, were ordered to remain in detention until Saturday while the investigation continued.

The case has raised international attention after a Malaysian official said their actions disrespected the mountain and caused an earthquake.

The magnitude 5.9 earthquake on Friday sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on the 4,095-metre-high Mount Kinabalu in eastern Sabah state on Borneo island. At least 18 people have died.

Sabah's tourism minister, Masidi Manjun, confirmed that the four foreigners – the two Canadians, a Dutch man and British woman – had been remanded into custody for another four days.

Video footage from Malaysia media showed the quartet leaving the courthouse under heavy guard – the women manacled to each other, hiding their faces with their free hands.

A police officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police Japri Abdul Halim, told reporters that the four were held at a central lockup facility in Kepayan, near the provincial capital of Kota Kinabalu. He said a German traveller was also arrested, but released after questioning.

A defence lawyer representing the foreigners, Ronny Cham, told the Guardian he requested they be held separately for their own safety.

The westerners had reached the top of Kinabalu on May 30 and broke away from their guides to strip and take photos of themselves.

"Mount Kinabalu. Time of my life," one Canadian, Emil Kaminski wrote on Facebook, posting a photo where eight westerners clad only in underwear can be seen, looking at the cloud cover from the mountain top, their pants and shirts piled on the rocks nearby.

According to an article in the Malay Mail, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the tragedy on the foreigners who took off their clothes after reaching the peak last week.

"There is almost certainly a connection. We have to take this as a reminder that local beliefs and customs are not to be disrespected," he told a press conference following the earthquake.

Mr. Kaminski has taken to social media, arguing and taunting Malaysian officials about their beliefs.

"You don't know anything about plate tectonics," he said in a profanity-laced video on YouTube.