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10 Surprising Laws That Could Get You Arrested Abroad

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There is a saying, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” Before traveling abroad, it is essential to prepare your passport, pack your luggage, book accommodation, and understand the country’s culture, especially the prohibited laws. Ignorance of the law could lead to arrest or other disadvantages abroad. So, what laws might not be problematic at home but could lead to severe punishment or fines abroad?

Saudi Arabia – Pokémon Game Ban

Saudi Arabia bans the Pokémon game. The Pokémon game was a massive craze, but its popularity recently waned. The game’s cards feature a star symbol, closely resembling the symbol of Judaism, leading to its rejection in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic country.

Denmark – Naming Ban

In Denmark, naming your newborn child is not a free choice. Unlike in other countries, you must choose from one of the 24,000 names approved by the government. If you want to name your child something that is not on the approved list, you must get permission from the government. This law aims to prevent children from being teased or bullied due to their names in educational institutions and schools as they grow up.

United States – Taxi Front Seat Ban

Did you know you cannot sit in the front seat in the United States when taking a taxi? The culture dramatically values personal space, and this extends to taxi rides. The front seat of a taxi is considered the driver’s personal space, so passengers are not allowed to sit there unless necessary.

Iran – Male Ponytail Ban

While people today express their individuality through various hairstyles, this is difficult in Iran. The Iranian government, which has always been interested in men’s hairstyles, announced a policy on appropriate men’s hairstyles in 2010. This policy includes a ban on ponytails and mullet hair, among others.

Australia – Ban on A-Cup and Smaller in Adult Films

Australia has reportedly banned adult film appearances by women with A-cup or smaller breasts. The reason is that when a woman with small breasts appears in an adult film, it could evoke images of underdeveloped minors under the age of 19. This unique Australian law aimed at preventing crimes against children has drawn global attention.   

France – Ketchup Ban

Can you believe that ketchup, which enhances the flavor of various foods, is banned in France? In 2011, France introduced nutritional dietary guidelines that restrict the use of ketchup. The concern is that if children, whose taste buds are not yet fully developed, frequently eat the strong-flavored ketchup, they will be unable to appreciate traditional French cuisine’s aesthetics and delicate flavors. Children can only eat ketchup once a week, on French fries day.

Hawaii – Smartphone Use Ban While Walking

In Honolulu, Hawaii, using a smartphone while walking is punishable by a fine. According to NPR, Honolulu was the first major city in the United States to enforce a law that bans the use of smartphones while walking. Starting that day, the police began fining pedestrians using smartphones on streets and crosswalks, with fines ranging from $15 to $99.

Dubai – Ban on Kissing and Hugging

As the number of foreigners in Dubai has increased, issues such as exposure and public displays of affection have been raised. As a result, a law has been enacted in Dubai that imposes fines or penalties on men and women who kiss or hug in public places. If the person who filed the complaint is a Muslim or a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, the offenders could be arrested, deported, or even imprisoned.

Greece – High Heels Ban

Greece, renowned for its profound cultural heritage, has implemented a law prohibiting wearing high heels at its ancient sites. Enacted in 2009, this legislation aims to prevent damage to these historic locations, as the sharp heels from such shoes can be particularly harmful. Additionally, food and drinks are forbidden on these sites. Moreover, visitors who have been drinking alcohol are not permitted entry at all. Visitors should be mindful of these restrictions to ensure the preservation of Greece’s historical treasures.

Singapore – Gum Ban

Known for its cleanliness, Singapore banned gum to maintain its hygienic standards after noticing an increase in people spitting gum on the ground. In 1992, Singapore made it illegal to sell gum. Those who violate the gum ban can be sentenced to up to two years in prison or fined up to $100,000. In addition to the gum ban, Singapore prohibits littering and graffiti on the streets.

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