Weird laws abroad
Just because you can do something in the UK doesn't mean it's OK in another country.
- Many countries, from Egypt to Cuba, forbid taking photographs, or using binoculars near military or government installations. Penalties can include jail sentences.
- In Turkey it is an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or to deface or tear up the national currency.
- In Thailand, images of Buddha are sacred.
- It is illegal to make rude gestures or swear in public in Bahrain, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Kenya. You could face a severe fine.
- Nude bathing is illegal in India, even in holiday resorts such as Goa. Topless sunbathing is illegal on most beaches in Florida.
- In Singapore smoking in public buildings, littering, jaywalking, spitting, feeding birds in public places, chewing gum on the local transport system, and failing to flush public lavatories are civic crimes and attract instant fines.
- In the UAE it is a criminal offence to eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan from sunrise to sunset.
- The penalty for entering or bathing in a fountain in Italy is a heavy fine.
- It is illegal to import pork products into Yemen, with a maximum punishment of death.
- Unlike the UK, the plant Quat (Khat) is illegal in the USA. Visitors attempting to take this plant into the USA could be arrested and face imprisonment.
Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
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