50 Weird Laws From Around the World


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happy young woman or teenage girl glasses making funny fish face
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It may be 2017, but some of the antiquated and downright bizarre laws that remain in place around the world (or that have recently been enacted) would make you think otherwise. From bans on what one can say about royalty to prohibitions of bubble gum and mineral water, there's a wide variety of unusual and outdated ways to run afoul of the law. It's almost enough to make you want to keep a lawyer on retainer.

Bengal Tiger
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The legions of selfie fans will have to keep themselves under control when viewing tigers in New York. Those who attempt to snap a picture with a tiger face a $500 fine. The measure was introduced by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal to prevent maulings. Just how close were people getting to tigers to take their selfies? Maybe locations with great scenery would be better places for selfies instead.

young couple hiking in the Swiss Alps
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One would think that hiking the Swiss Alps would be a bit chilly, perhaps necessitating some clothing. The fact that some hikers (er, naturists) in Switzerland didn't see it that way led to a series of court cases that resulted in a ban on hiking in the buff throughout the entire country, which is home to some of the best trails in the world. If hiking sans clothing is on your to-do list, look for another destination.

young woman blowing a bubble gum balloon
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An island city-state famous for cleanliness, Singapore has many laws aimed at keeping the nation tidy. The country seems to have a particular obsession with chewing gum, banning its importation entirely. What's more, any gum that passes through the country en route to a neighboring nation must be transported under lock and key. Try to smuggle a little Juicy Fruit or Trident into Singapore, and you face a fine of $100,000 or imprisonment for up to two years. In other words, leave your gum at home.

cheater having sex on the bed with his lover caught in act by his angry wife
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You may think your romantic encounters are private business, but for married folks in Maryland, that's not exactly the case. The state considers adultery a criminal offense. Although prosecution for this "crime against marriage" is highly unusual, it's a misdemeanor that carries a whopping $10 fine. No word on how many Maryland residents are deterred by the fee.

woman holding flag covering mouth
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A Caribbean nation that famously arrested 50 Cent for swearing during a concert, choose your words carefully when visiting St. Kitts. Use of explicit language in public is illegal and cost 50 Cent, who uttered a single profanity, a pretty penny -- $1,100 to be exact.

red apple
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In the United States, parents are free to give their offspring any name they want -- whether it's Apple, Blue Ivy or even North (yes, like the direction on a compass.) But in Denmark, however, there's a list of about 7,000 government-approved baby names. Parents wishing to give their child a name that does not appear on the list must seek permission, including having the name reviewed by Copenhagen University's Names Investigation Department. About 20 percent of name applications are rejected each year.

young woman feeding pigeons in Venice
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Feeding pigeons may seem harmless enough, but that's not the way the government of Venice sees it. It's illegal to give pigeons birdseed in this historic city, and vendors selling food for the birds were banned from historic Piazza San Marco years ago. What's all the fuss about? The ban is part of an effort to reduce the significant population of pigeons in the city and the health hazards they bring with them.

camouflage t-shirt
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When visiting Barbados and Jamaica, don't make the mistake of wearing any camouflage-style clothing. This includes kids' cargo pants. In both destinations, the clothing, which resembles a military uniform, is illegal. Anyone who ignores the law faces a fine.

hands of woman holding a digital alcohol breathalyzer
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The next time you're preparing to get into a car and drive in France, be sure to grab your Breathalyzer. It is against the law to drive without one. The fine associated with the law has not been implemented, but the law remains in effect.

swim trunks
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It's perfectly okay to strip down to a bikini or swim shorts when at the beach in Spain. But once you leave the sand behind, be sure to dress properly. In some parts of the country, such as Majorca, there are fines for wearing swim clothing while walking along city streets.

man hold the portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej
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In Thailand, saying negative things about the king or any member of the royal family, including deceased monarchs, is forbidden. The so-called "lèse majesté" law makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the king, queen, and other royalty. Doing so can result in a prison sentence that ranges from three to 15 years, making it one of the world's harshest laws of its kind.

water coming up from plastic bottle
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If you're headed to Nigeria, be sure to ditch any water you may be carrying when entering the country. In an effort to protect local manufacturers, the African nation bans the import of mineral water and fines those who break the law. The country also prohibits importing a variety of other beverages, such as soft drinks, wine, and beer.

three chickens crossing the road
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This is not the start of another chicken joke, though we've probably all heard the one about the chicken crossing the road. In Quitman, Georgia, however, chicken crossings are apparently no laughing matter. It's illegal for the birds to walk across an open road. The law is designed to ensure that farm animals aren't running about freely. However, the law mentions only chickens. Cows, pigs, and other animals are apparently free to continue crossing back and forth at will.

'Welcome to Arkansas' sign
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Arkansas Code 1 April 105 was designed to discourage mispronunciation of the state's name. For those who are unclear, the law says there's only one true pronunciation: it's Arkan-saw. Creating a state code to deal with this matter may seem frivolous to those not from Arkansas, but its adoption may be traced back to 19th-century frustration over the state name being pronounced as "Our-Kansas."

acrylic dentures with dentist mirror
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Women who want to make a bold dental move like getting false teeth in Vermont must first get their husband's written approval. As for single women, apparently they're free to get whatever kind of teeth they want. No word on whether dentists in the state uphold this antiquated law, which dates back to a time when women were not considered equals.

curly black mustache
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Don't even think about wearing that fake mustache to church in Alabama, especially if your intention is to make people laugh while there. It's a crime to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in a house of worship. Police apparently do not enforce the obscure statute.

vanilla ice cream cones on wooden surface
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It seems Georgia has a number of bizarre and antiquated laws in place, including one prohibiting people from carrying ice cream in a back pocket. While this practice must be extremely messy, it was once a popular way to steal horses. The ice cream would entice the animal to follow whoever was carrying it, and thieves would lure horses wherever they wanted.

bull moose in Alaska frontier
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It's hard to say how looking at a moose from the window of a plane can be harmful, but Alaska state lawmakers felt it necessary to ban this practice. That's right, no observing moose while flying. And the obsession with moose didn't end there. It is also illegal to push a moose out of a plane and to give a moose alcohol. Which begs the question -- what is going on in Alaska, exactly?

wooden bigfoot in woods
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It's a felony in Washington state to harass Bigfoot in any way. The fact that Bigfoot has never been proven to exist ... well, that's just a trivial detail. Anyone who engages in the willful, wanton slaying of the creature faces a $1,000 fine or jail time.

"Virginia is for Lovers" sign
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Since 1969, Virginia's tourism and travel slogan has been "Virginia is for lovers." But as it turns out, that's not entirely accurate. The state continues to have a law prohibiting unmarried people from having sex. That's right, if you're not lawfully wed, having sex is a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Autobahn in Germany
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Germany's Autobahn is famous for not having a speed limit. But far less well known is the fact that when driving this legendary stretch of road, it's illegal to run out of gas. What's more, if you have to get out and walk to find gas, you will be in even more trouble, because walking on the Autobahn is also illegal. Hopefully, they have AAA in Germany.

woman hanging clothes on laundry line in garden
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Sunday seems to be a very special day in Switzerland, considering all the laws they have governing what isn't allowed on that day. Some of the regulations are downright bizarre. For instance, hanging laundry out to dry is prohibited on Sundays, as is mowing your lawn. And don't even think about recycling on Sunday. A woman who dared to do so was offered a fine or two nights in jail.

traffic in Bangkok, Thailand
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Driving rules and regulations certainly vary around the world, but Thailand's shirt ordinance is perhaps the most puzzling. It's illegal to drive without your top on in the country. Get caught doing so, and you will be fined. No word on how being topless impairs driving capabilities. Perhaps it distracts passengers.

Canadian coins flowing from a leather pouch
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In Canada, making a purchase using mounds of coins is frowned upon. The country's Currency Act strictly limits how many coins can be used in a single transaction. For instance, if you're shopping with pennies, you may not make a purchase greater than 25 cents.

written text WASH ME on dirty car
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In Russia, allowing your car to get too dirty is not a wise idea. Doing so could lead to a fine, and just how much that fine will be is a little unclear. The exact amount seems to be left to the discretion of the officer citing you for the infraction, a situation that rarely ends in your favor.

woman legs with a red sexy shoes
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Ancient Greek monuments have managed to survive thousands of years. But the modern stilettos many women are so fond of wearing (Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and the like) have proved a serious threat to the future of these ancient treasures, piercing the delicate "skin" of the antiquities. As a result, heels are illegal at certain locations around the country. Do yourself a favor and just opt for comfortable walking shoes no matter which monument you visit. You'll thank us later.

horse riding in Colorado
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While it may seem a far wiser choice than getting behind the wheel of a car, riding a horse while intoxicated is forbidden in Colorado. Those caught riding a horse while under the influence face a traffic violation.

mud debris splash from a car
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Getting soaked by a car speeding through a puddle as you walk along the street is not exactly a pleasant experience. In Japan, drivers who commit such an offense, known as "muddy driving," are subject to a traffic citation or a fine.

orange plastic water pistol
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Water guns may seem like innocent enough fun in many parts of the world, but in Cambodia, it's a different story. The government fears their use might lead to social unrest during holiday celebrations and opted to prevent the sale and import of all such toys.

no peeing in the pool sign
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So we all know it's not cool to pee in a swimming pool, right? In Portugal, however, peeing in the ocean is also frowned upon. How this particular law is enforced remains a puzzling question, but if you can, perhaps just use the bathroom rather than the ocean next time, okay?

female legs in pink sandals out of car window
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Flip flops are standard attire in places like Florida, Southern California, and elsewhere, so thankfully this particular law applies to a far-flung country. Spain does not allow the popular open-toed beach shoes to be worn when operating a vehicle, because wearing them may lead to an accident. The country also prohibits having groceries in the back seat of a convertible.

female hand holding cent coin
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In some places, putting a coin in your ear means you have drugs for sale, a fact not lost on government authorities in Hawaii. It's against the law when visiting the Hawaiian Islands to store your change in your ear. Dimes, pennies, quarters, and nickels are all forbidden. Try carrying them around the old-fashioned way -- in your pocket.

grizzly bear in Alaska taking a rest on a fallen tree
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This law begs the question, who would be brave enough to wake a sleeping bear? But obviously it has been tried before because Alaska has made it illegal to disturb a snoozing bear in order to snap a photo. Consider it a law to protect both you and the bear. Surprisingly, the even more questionable practice of shooting a bear in its den while it's hibernating, is now legal.

pizza delivery boy holding several boxes with pizza near car
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Perhaps it was someone's idea of a prank, or perhaps it was just done as a surprise, but whatever the case may be, it is illegal to send pizza to person's home without their knowledge. Those who engage in this forbidden behavior face a $500 fine. And no pizza prank is worth that kind of cash.

woman in transparent silver top with blue flowers
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Transparent clothing seems fun, if perhaps a bit over the top when worn beyond the boundaries of a nightclub or fashion runway. But Rhode Island officials are not fans. They've made it illegal in the state to be seen in public wearing such skin-baring attire. Maybe save the transparent stuff for Halloween. In another state. Where you've checked their laws first.

wine being poured from bottle
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It can certainly be frustrating when every last wine glass in your cupboard has broken and you're searching around for a substitute vessel in which to serve some vino. But refrain from reaching for a teacup, particularly if you're a server in Topeka, Kansas. Offering wine in a teacup is forbidden in the city, though it's unclear what prompted this measure.

bath tub in bathroom
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Why? That's the first question that comes to mind. Why would anyone want a donkey to sleep in their bathtub? Whatever the answer to that question may be, the state of Arizona saw fit to pass a law banning this practice. Which will likely ensure bathtubs throughout the state are much cleaner.

little girl sitting on car roof with open hands on blue sky
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It's hard to even imagine anyone in their right mind doing this, but in Oregon it's illegal to drive with a child on the hood or fender of your car. Thank goodness. Though children still can ride unrestrained in the flatbed of a pickup as long as it's between hunting sites, and the child has a hunting license.

automatic lawn sprinkler in action watering grass
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Don't you hate when you're walking along the street and an unexpected sprinkler encounter leaves you soaked? Apparently the people of Montana also do not enjoy when this happens. It's illegal in the state to annoy passersby on a sidewalk with a revolving sprinkler. The Helena, Montana law dates back to 1979 and prohibits water from being thrown onto a street or sidewalk from a sprinkler, hose or fountain.

young woman taking off her white shirt
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Stripping down in front of a woman's portrait may be perfectly acceptable in Ohio. But apparently the state felt there was something unseemly about disrobing in front of a man's portrait and have made doing so illegal.

happy young mother and daughter in curlers in a bathroom hugging each other
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Putting aside the fact that perms went out of style decades ago, in Nebraska, a mother may not give her daughter a perm without holding a license to do so. Nebraska's daughters will someday thank the state's leaders for this law.

woman lifting weight
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If you find yourself asking what this even means, you're not alone. It makes you wonder if Oregon residents have a tendency to drive while lifting weights.

young woman with headphones in the forest
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While it makes sense for a community to have a noise ordinance, the city of Petrolia, Ontario, seems to have gone a tad overboard. In an attempt to crack down on excessive noise disturbance, the city has made it illegal to whistle or sing at any time. Does this feel vaguely reminiscent of the movie "Footloose"? Perhaps a sequel is in order, focused on a town where no one is allowed to sing.

little girl holding violin in front of her face and hiding behind it
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A trumpet or a clarinet in a paper bag would apparently be just fine. But in Utah, don't try and put your violin in a paper bag. It's against the law in the state to walk down the street with this particular instrument stored in such a manner.

black cat kitten looking at the camera with a paw up
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It may be hard to imagine someone eating animals we keep as pets in the United States, but apparently in Southern Australia it was enough of a problem that a law prohibiting the practice was warranted. Those caught killing or selling such animals for the purpose of consumption face a fine of $1,250.

couple skydiving tandem
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It's hard to imagine a circumstance that warranted this law. But one of Florida's antiquated codes states that no unmarried woman may parachute on Sundays. The antiquated rule is never enforced however, so, single ladies, feel free to do your thing.

radio station microphone and mixer
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Canada is famous for taking steps to protect its heritage, and that includes the work of Canadian artists. As part of that effort, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission requires that 35 percent to 50 percent of the songs played on the radio must be by a Canadian. Thankfully, the country has produced many fine musical talents beyond merely Justin Bieber.

'No Profanity' sign
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If having a profanity-free beach vacation is on your to-do list, Virginia may be one of the best options. In Virginia Beach, it's a misdemeanor to swear at the beach. There seems to be some local debate about the constitutionality of the law (the Virginia Court of Appeals declared the ordinance violates free-speech). However, the community is not giving up its efforts. Its oceanfront no swearing signs remain in place.

European man and young woman kiss in front of Taj Mahal
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In India, public displays of affection exist on a spectrum ranging from against the law to immoral and taboo. Some consider kissing obscene, and public obscenity can land you in jail for up to three months. There are also "moral police" throughout the country, informal groups that enforce fundamentalist Hindu views regarding PDA. Bottom line -- play it safe and keep the PDA to a minimum.

man cleans durian in Thailand market
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The stench of the durian fruit is evidently so awful, several nations have prohibited its consumption in public places, among them Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. You're not allowed to eat the fruit, (which, according to a Smithsonian article, smells like a cross between turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock), in hotels, airports or on buses or subways. In other words, if you must eat this funky fruit, do it in private.

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