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|How to Break the Law in 10 Countries
Laws aren’t meant to be broken so much as forgotten, it seems. Across the United States, and the globe for that matter, rules
are in place that few police officers or judges remember. But if you break one while traveling and have the bad luck to run into a
cop with a long memory, woe betide you! Here are some oddball ways one can break the law around the planet. Forewarned is
Text by Pauline Frommer; photo editing by Connie Ricca
Be careful where you step. Because the king’s face is
on the currency in Thailand, you could tangle with the
law if you accidentally put your foot on a coin or bill.
You won’t run the risk of stepping on gum though;
throwing it on the street incurs a fine of several
hundred dollars. A strict dress code is also written into
the law. Not wearing underwear in public, or driving
without a shirt on, are punishable offenses.
The United Kingdom
If you’re planning to visit Parliament, remember the
dress code, which makes it illegal to wear your suit of
armor into the chamber. Beachcombers should be
aware that whale remains are considered property of
the crown; the head goes to the king and the tail goes
to the queen so she can use the bones for her corsets.
Gotta go? If you’re pregnant, by law you can relieve
yourself anywhere in the United Kingdom, even in
public. Finally, if you send a postcard home, be sure
the stamp is right side up. Putting the monarch’s head
upside down is considered an insult to the royal family.
Scotsmen take note: Wearing any form of skirt, if you’re
not female, can get you arrested on “The Boot." So can
feeding the birds in Lucca or in St. Mark’s Square in
Venice, or building a sandcastle in the small, seaside
town of Eraclea.
And if you’re traveling in a group to Rome, watch your
conduct in public: It’s against the law for people in
groups of three or more to sing, drink, eat or dance in
Kissing is a national sport in France. It’s not uncommon
to see young couples canoodling at street corners, in
parks, in restaurants and in any other passably
romantic spot. Call the cops, though, if you see
someone kissing on a train, as that’s illegal. But don’t
take photos of the gendarmes if they show up: In
France, it’s against the law to snap photos of policemen
or police cars. That applies even if the law officers are
in the background.
How much wine is too much? The government in Bolivia
has an answer — at least when it comes to women
tippling. An old law, but one that’s apparently still on the
books, forbids people with two X chromosomes from
ordering more than one glass of wine in restaurants or
The United States
Each state has its own legal peculiarities. In Arkansas, it’
s unlawful to mispronounce the name of the state.
Cleanliness is key in Kentucky: Every resident is
required by law to shower once a year. Those behind
the wheel in Ohio should know that the state driver’s
manual commands drivers to honk when passing
Be very careful before proposing in South Carolina; any
male over 16 who seduces a woman with a promise of
marriage, but doesn’t go through with the wedding, can
be found guilty of a misdemeanor. And don’t giggle, but
it’s illegal to tickle a woman in Virginia.
Ditch the small change. In Canada store owners, by law,
have the right to refuse payment in pennies if the item
costs more than 25 cents, in nickels if the item is more
than $5 and in dimes for things priced at more than $10.
Climbing trees is unlawful in Oshawa, Ontario. And get
ready to learn some new tunes; by law, one in every five
songs played on the radio is by a Canadian-born artist.
Only the "Queen’s English" is allowed in Queensland,
Australia. People who use profanity can be hit with
fines of between $100 and $300. If you’re visiting the
Northern Territory, leave your oboe at home; it’s illegal
to play a musical instrument on a bus there.
And forget about souvenirs if you’re visiting one of the
country’s national parks. Removing anything, even a
seashell or a pebble, from these protected areas can
result in a major fine.
Thirsty? Restaurants in Denmark can charge you for
water, but only if it has ice or a slice of lemon in it. Before
you rent a car, know that you’re required to check
brakes and steering and honk the horn before turning
the key in the ignition. As in many Scandinavian
countries, the government requires drivers to have their
headlights on whenever the car is in operation. (Actually
this is a smart, rather than an odd, rule and has been
cited as the reason why the number of car accidents has
plunged in these countries.)
Rules, rules, rules. Littering of all kinds in Singapore is a
huge no-no, incurring fines. After several offenses,
public humiliation is the punishment; repeat offenders
clean streets wearing “litterer” signs around their necks
and can be caned.
Also, anything smacking of pornography is strictly
verboten, from bringing adult magazines into the
country to mooning someone — even walking around
one’s own home naked.
|India Republic Day Surprise