Sam Panda, who lives in Taipei, Taiwan, and a well-known professional acrobat had been at the beach with friends over the weekend when the police department received a complaint about their bikinis from an individual.
Sam has since described the complainant as ‘some Karen’.
In a recorded video that lasts for 20 minutes, officers could be seen handcuffing Sam, despite her protesting, “I literally wear this to the beach every day.” Upon clarifying that Sam was being detained, a man filming the incident could be heard asking the officers as to why exactly it was illegal to wear a bikini at the beach.
One officer then goes on to read out some legislation to Sam, which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to appear in the nude on any public beach, public waters or any public property in the view of the public.”
Sam argued that she wasn’t actually nude, prompting a discussion as to what exactly constituted nudity in the eyes of the law.
The man behind the camera could be heard saying that ‘an anus and a vagina are nudity, a thong is not nudity’.
However, according to the Myrtle Beach municipal code, exposing one’s buttocks in a public place is in fact unlawful.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally appear in any public place in such a state of dress or undress so as to expose to the view of others the human male or female genitals, pubic area, pubic hair, buttocks, anus, vulva or any portion of the female breast at or below the areola thereof,” the municipal code reads.
In 2009, Myrtle Beach authorities strictly imposed public exposure laws, allowing officers to hand out tickets or make arrests the very first time they spot someone showing too much skin.
These new laws raised various differing opinions during that time, with some residents believing wearing a thong bikini shouldn’t be seen as that much of a big deal.
Based on a 2009 report by WMBF News, even though thongs had not been legal at the beach for some time, the previous so-called ‘thong ordinance’ stipulated that officers had to issue a warning before handing out tickets.
In the video, an officer denies Sam’s request for him to let go of her, telling her, “You’re in handcuffs.” At this, she exclaimed, “You put me in handcuffs for wearing a thong!”
Later in the video, one officer can be heard that Sam had been detained on account of “how [she was] acting.” Eventually, Sam’s handcuffs are removed after another officer turns up, but it is still quite a while until the incident is wrapped up.
At one point, an officer tells the man holding the camera he could go to jail for ‘hindering’ if he continued chiming in, an assessment that appeared to be rather over the top. Sam and her friends then go on to point out that there were various beachgoers who could be said to be displaying too much flesh, including men in speedos.
“Also, just to clarify. A woman called the cops on me because of my bikini. That’s how this all started,” Sam said. “Some Karen decided that my body was offensive to her and showed her child that her body could one day lead to her arrest. Her body could be the reason a grown ass man violates her. Her body is wrong.”