Broken Laws
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50 Weird Laws From Around the World

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Broken Laws
Syda Productions/shutterstock

broken laws

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what one can say about royalty to prohibitions of bubble gum and mineral water, there's a wide variety of unusual and outdated ways to run afoul of the law.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.

No Tiger Selfies in New York

no tiger selfies in new york

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.

No Hiking in the Buff in Switzerland

no hiking in the buff in switzerland

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.

Bubble Gum Ban in Singapore
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bubble gum ban in singapore

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.

Adultery Is Illegal in Maryland
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adultery is illegal in maryland

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.

Don't Swear in St. Kitts

don't swear in st. kitts

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.

No Kids Named Apple Allowed in Denmark
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no kids named apple allowed in denmark

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.

Don't Feed the Pigeons in Venice
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don't feed the pigeons in venice

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.

Leave the Camouflage Home If You Visit Barbados and Jamaica
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leave the camouflage home if you visit barbados and jamaica

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.

Bring Your Own Breathalyzer in France

bring your own breathalyzer in france

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.

Bikinis and Swim Shorts Prohibited in Spain

bikinis and swim shorts prohibited in spain

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.

Disrespecting the Monarchy
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only compliments for the king in thailand

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.

Imported Water Is Prohibited in Nigeria
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imported water is prohibited in nigeria

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.

Chickens Cannot Cross the Road in Georgia

chickens cannot cross the road in georgia

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.

It's Arkan-saw
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it's arkan-saw

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."

Wives Must Have Husband's Okay to Get False Teeth in Vermont

wives must have husband's okay to get false teeth in vermont

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.

Fake Mustaches Not Allowed in Alabama Churches

fake mustaches not allowed in alabama churches

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.

Ice Cream in Your Back Pocket Is a No-No in Georgia
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ice cream in your back pocket is a no-no in georgia

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.

Moose Viewing While Airborne in Alaska Is Strictly Forbidden
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moose viewing while airborne in alaska is strictly forbidden

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?

Bigfoot is a Strictly Protected Creature in Washington
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bigfoot is a strictly protected creature in washington

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 Not for All Lovers
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virginia is not for all lovers

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.

Gas Up Before Driving on the Autobahn

gas up before driving on the autobahn

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.

Don't Do Your Laundry on Sunday in Switzerland

don't do your laundry on sunday in switzerland

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.

No Shirtless Driving in Thailand

no shirtless driving in thailand

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.

Limit the Use of Coins When Making a Purchase in Canada

limit the use of coins when making a purchase in canada

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.

Don't Let Your Car Get Too Dirty in Russia
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don't let your car get too dirty in russia

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.

High Heels Prohibited at Greek Monuments

high heels prohibited at greek monuments

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.

No Horse-Riding While Under the Influence in Colorado
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no horse-riding while under the influence in colorado

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.

'Muddy Driving' Is Prohibited in Japan

'muddy driving' is prohibited in japan

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.

Water Guns Not Allowed on New Year's Eve in Cambodia

water guns not allowed on new year's eve in cambodia

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 Ocean in Portugal

no peeing in the ocean in portugal

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?

No Driving While Wearing Flip Flops in Spain

no driving while wearing flip flops in spain

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.

Keep the Coins out of Your Ears in Hawaii
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keep the coins out of your ears in hawaii

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.

Don't Wake a Hibernating Bear to Take a Picture
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don't wake a hibernating bear to take a picture

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.

Be Careful Who You Send Pizza to in Louisiana
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be careful who you send pizza to in louisiana

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.

Transparent Clothing Is Illegal in Rhode Island

transparent clothing is illegal in rhode island

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.

Don't Even Think of Serving Wine in Teacups in Topeka
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don't even think of serving wine in teacups in topeka

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.

It's Illegal for Donkeys to Sleep in Bathtubs in Arizona
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it's illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs in arizona

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.

No Driving with a Child on the Hood of Your Car
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no driving with a child on the hood of your car

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.

Keep Your Sprinklers Under Control in Montana

keep your sprinklers under control in montana

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.

It's Illegal in Ohio to get Undressed in Front of a Man's Portrait

it's illegal in ohio to get undressed in front of a man's portrait

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.

A Mother May Not Give her Daughter a Perm Without a License
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a mother may not give her daughter a perm without a license

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.

No Testing Your Physical Endurance While Driving in Oregon

no testing your physical endurance while driving in oregon

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.

No Whistling or Singing in Petrolia, Ontario
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no whistling or singing in petrolia, ontario

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.

Carrying a Violin in a Paper Bag is Prohibited in Utah

carrying a violin in a paper bag is prohibited in utah

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.

It's Illegal to Eat Cats and Dogs in Southern Australia
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it's illegal to eat cats and dogs in southern australia

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.

No Parachuting on Sunday if You Are Unmarried
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no parachuting on sunday if you are unmarried

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.

Canadian Radio Must Play Canadian Artists

canadian radio must play canadian artists

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 Swearing on the Beach in Virginia
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no swearing on the beach in virginia

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.

Kissing in Public is Illegal in India
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kissing in public is illegal in india

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.

Eating Durians Is Banned in Public Places

eating durians is banned in public places

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.