Airbnb says hidden cameras are banned on its properties and expressed disappointment over what happened.
Airbnb safety team has removed the host account of a homestay in Sabah after allegations arose that a hidden camera was found installed inside a wall socket.
Airbnb’s India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan general manager Amanpreet Bajaj said Airbnb banned hidden cameras and was disappointed that such cases happened.
While safety incidents are rare on Airbnb, we take reports such as these seriously, and we have been providing support to our guests.Airbnb’s India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan general manager Amanpreet Bajaj
What happened previously?
On 6 September, a couple from China found a hidden camera in the Airbnb they stayed in Sabah. The tiny camera was concealed in the electrical socket that faced the bed.
Since they checked in around 3am, the couple had no choice but to cover the camera using tissue paper and some other objects for the night.
They immediately checked out at dawn and found lodging elsewhere. They also lodged a police report about the matter on the same day.
They went public with their story on Xiaohongshu upon returning to China.
Police confirmed they received the couple’s report on 7 September and an investigation is underway under Section 509 of the Penal Code.
After carrying out preliminary investigations at the site of the incident and confiscating several items, the police are working to identify the suspect.
Motac and Sabah MAH commented on the issue
Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing urged the relevant authorities to take action regarding the hidden camera incident and lamented that it would ruin the work to woo more tourists to the country.
Meanwhile, the Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) issued a statement to clarify that the incident happened in an Airbnb property and not in a hotel.
Sabah MAH said hotels are under strict guidelines and regulations to ensure guests’ well-being. However, Airbnb properties are not subject to the same regulations and standards as licensed hotels.
Therefore, incidents like the one reported, while unfortunate, should not be attributed to the broader hotel industry as such actions can damage the trust and integrity of our accommodation sector as a whole.Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH)
Sabah MAH sympathised with the couple whose holiday was tarnished by the experience and urged all accommodation providers, regardless of their classification, to prioritise guests’ safety and privacy.
They also encouraged travellers to choose lodging options wisely and report any concerns to the relevant authorities.