Everyone would hope to be a good citizen and obey the law. Tourist and holidaymakers should always make themselves be aware of the laws in other countries, when going abroad on holiday. However, sometimes it is rather difficult, because there are some very strange laws in countries around the world.
Singapore has strict laws against chewing gum, litter, and graffiti. The island has some other strict laws too. Failing to flush a Public toilet after using it could earn you a hefty fine, special police officers check public lavatories frequently. Be sure to close the blinds, curtains or drapes in your hotel room before you strip off. Under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act (Chapter 184, 1997 edition) section 27 any person appearing nude 1a) in a public place or (1b) in a private place exposed to public view, is guilty of an offence under the act and liable to a fine up to 2,000 dollars or imprisonment for up to 3 months or both. The section further describes that nude includes anyone dressed to offend public decency or order also commits a section 27 offence and is subject to the same punishments.
France has some odd laws. Farmers can name their animals anything they like, but calling a pig “Napoleon” will bring you a visit from the local gendarme. You can also marry a dead person; you must get the President’s permission and have completed the necessary paperwork before your intended died. Tourists, visiting France, as well as many other countries, would do well to remember that taking photographs of police officers, police stations, or police vehicles even if they are only in the background is illegal.
Members of the English Parliament may not wear armour when attending Parliament. In addition, anyone buying a television set, in the United Kingdom, must also buy a licence.
In Thailand, it is an offence to throw litter in the street, to leave the house if you are not wearing underwear, or step on a banknote
In Switzerland, all males must have a gun in the house and must take shooting practice regularly. This is because Switzerland does not have a standing army, were the country to need defending all adult males would form a defense force. In one small mountain village, you may not ride down hill on a bicycle.
Zimbabwean citizens may not make offensive gestures at a passing state motorcade. If you are a female visiting Swaziland, you should not wear trousers or shake hands with men.
In many European countries, including Germany and Switzerland, the law keeps Sundays special, it is an offence to hang laundry out to dry or mow your lawn on Sundays. A badly drafted Greek law banned all electronic games in 2003. The Greek Parliament intended to control illegal internet gambling. However, the legislation failed to draw a distinction between electronic gambling games and harmless games, such as scrabble and so all computer games are effectively illegal in Greece.
The United States of America also have some weird laws. In Texas, it is illegal to milk cows belonging to someone else. Alabamans may not play dominoes on Sundays. Alaskans may legally shoot bears, but may not wake a sleeping bear to take its photograph. Virginian legislators passed many laws regulating citizens’ love lives. Massachusetts citizens must not give beer to hospital patients or hold public boxing matches.
Wherever you go in the world, there are strange laws. They may seem odd, when you are from another culture, but ignorance can put you in trouble. A group of British plane spotters faced espionage charges some years ago for simply following, what is in the UK, a harmless hobby. They were found guilty and imprisoned, although the Greek authorities eventually released them. A little research, before visiting any country, will prevent you landing in prison for something that you did not realize was against the law.