Mankini-wearing ‘Borat’ tourists arrested in Kazakhstan

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Six Czech tourists who dressed up as Borat have been arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing nothing but mankinis.

The group posed for photos dressed in the revealing swimsuits in the capital city of Astana last week.

Local media reported on Tuesday the tourists were arrested and fined 22,500 Tenge ($67; £51) each for their “indecent” appearances.

The costume was made notorious by Borat, a fictional Kazakh TV presenter played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

The news sparked a lively debate among Kazakh social media users.

Journalist Assem Mirjekeeva asked on Facebook: “I wonder how would the Czech authorities react if our citizens did the same in their country?”

“I think they would have not reacted. It is because our police are so sensitive,” replied Facebook user Vitaliy Shuptar.

“This is teasing, they should have been jailed,” @_solar__eclipse_ commented on Instagram.

“They should have had a criminal charge for insulting the honour of the nation,” another poster said.

Borat remains a controversial figure in the Central Asian state.

In 2006, Baron Cohen wrote and produced the comedy film Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which follows the character of Borat Sagdiyev as he travels to the US to make a documentary.

Kazakhstan banned the film and sales of the DVD. The government also threatened to sue Baron Cohen.

Although the sections of the film set in Kazakhstan were mainly filmed in Romania, Kazakh officials felt the movie portrayed the country as a racist, sexist and primitive.

However, in 2012, the Kazakh foreign minister publicly thanked Baron Cohenfor boosting tourism in the central Asian state.