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US nationals arrested, charged for climbing world’s 2nd tallest building in Malaysia

isaac wright
via Driftershoots

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    A group of Americans who broke into and climbed the Merdeka 118, the world’s second tallest building located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, have reportedly been arrested and charged.

    Army veteran-turned-urban explorer Isaac Wright uploaded a video of their ascent to his YouTube channel on Dec. 30, 2022.

    Although the daredevil did not elaborate much on the details of their climb, including notably the date it occurred, a statement released by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) Merdeka Ventures on Tuesday revealed that the break-in and illegal climb occurred on May 1, 2022.

    According to the statement, Wright and his group were reportedly detained and charged under Section 457 of Malaysia’s Penal Code on the same day they made their climb.

    The company announced that it would continue upgrading the Merdeka 118’s security and explained that safety remains its top priority as the building, which stands at 679 meters (approximately 2,228 feet) high, is still a “live construction site.” Construction of the Merdeka 118 is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

    We wish to reiterate that stunts such as these are illegal and dangerous, and put at risk the safety of the trespassers and the hard-working personnel on site. As such, it is highly disconcerting that illegal acts that take place on our property are used for illicit commercial gain and popularity.

    The video shows Wright and three other men with their faces blurred entering the construction site to break into the Merdeka 118 while wearing construction worker-like vests.

    After walking carefully — and silently — through various rooms and up a staircase, the group eventually reaches another staircase blocked off by what seems to be a locked gate and a large length of fabric covering the entirety of the handrails.

    Despite the obvious signs that they should not be there, Wright and his group still decide to break a small gap in the fabric for them to squeeze through.

    Upon reaching the top, the men were met by thunder and lightning, but that did not deter them.

    It is unclear how long the group stayed on top of the building, but the video shows they were still up there even after sunrise.

    The journey was long and difficult and full of challenges,” Wright wrote in his YouTube post’s caption. “A number of attempts had already ended in prison time for certain individuals so we knew we were up against heavy odds.

    The trip ended successfully and its [sic] a gift to be ending the year showing the footage. This video is an artistic expression of freedom done in and for love, I do not encourage anybody to recreate the actions shown in this video.”

    Wright had already made headlines in the United States a few years before his Merdeka 118 break-in.

    Wright, an honorably retired Army veteran who served as a paratrooper in an Army Special Forces battalion, got off six felony charges against him for unlawfully entering the Great American Tower at Queen City Square in Cincinnati in exchange for entering a treatment program in November 2021 as part of a plea deal.

    He was later linked to other similar incidents through his online brand Driftershoots. Some of his posts include photos taken on top of skyscrapers and bridges across the country.


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