Can You Guess What Country These Unusual Laws Are Still Practiced In?

John Miller

Which country has a famous ban on chewing gum?

In the early 2000s, officials in Singapore recognized a widespread chewing gum littering problem. The result? A complete (and very serious) ban, one that's penalized by hundreds of dollars in fines.

In ____, it is illegal to step on money, because it has the king's face on it.

Currency in Thailand features the king's portrait, a reason that makes it illegal to dirty the money with your feet. You can actually be thrown in jail for this crime.

Where is it illegal to use more than 25 pennies in a cash transaction?

When Canada began phasing out one-cent coins (something that many Americans yearn for) the government worried about people cashing in too many pennies at once. So for a time, it was very much frowned upon when customers tried to use more than 25 pennies at once.

Where can you be charged with a crime called "unjust vexation," or basically annoying someone?

In the Philippines, there is indeed a crime called "unjust vexation." So if you do something incredibly annoying, you may be arrested and fined.

A 2013 law in ______ forces children to visit their elderly parents.

In 2013, China passed a law forcing children to regularly visit their elderly parents. The law was implemented in part due to China's aging population, which spurred widespread stories of elder loneliness and neglect.

Where is it illegal to curse in public?

On the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, public swearing is very illegal. Just ask rapper 50 Cent, who was forced to pay more than $1,000 in fines after swearing during a live performance.

Where are women prohibited from wearing stiletto heels, particularly around ancient monuments?

Greece officials tired of damage near famous, heavily visited monuments. So they prohibited women from wearing stiletto heels near sensitive areas.

In which country is it against the rules to name your baby anything other than one of 7,000 government-approved names?

In Denmark, society frowns on strange baby names. You can pick from one of the government's approved names or submit a petition insisting that "Sparklefoot" is the name that you think should be allowed for your offspring.

In which country is it illegal to leave your home without underwear?

Thailand has some weird laws on its books, such as one that makes it illegal to leave home without wearing underwear. No word on how the police actually enforce this one.

In which country are you NOT allowed to hike in the nude through the mountains?

For a time, Switzerland was a fashionable place to go hiking in the nude. But some public backlash resulted in a law forcing people to cover up their privates while prancing through public lands.

In which country is it illegal to run out of gas on the autobahn?

Germany's famous high-speed highway, the autobahn, isn't meant for stopped vehicles. So if you make the mistake of running out of gas and have to pull over, you may receive a fine for your lack of situational awareness.

It is illegal to celebrate the New Year with water guns in which country?

In Cambodia, the government doesn't like the potential for armed unrest of any kind, even if it's just celebratory water gun fights. You'll want to go elsewhere to shoot huge water blaster.

Where is it illegal to urinate in local canals … unless you're pregnant?

In the Netherlands, public urination is a problem, and it's a health hazard, too -- each year, a few (probably intoxicated) people drown trying to pee in the canals. But if you're pregnant and can't hold it, by all means, pee freely.

It's illegal for a man to wear a skirt in _____.

You'd think that a European nation would be more liberal about men in skirts, but Italy frowns on the practice. It's unlikely that you'd be arrested for the act, but even if you're Scottish, you may want to reconsider your street attire.

Where is it illegal to hang your laundry out to dry on a Sunday?

In Switzerland, no one really wants to spend one of their weekend days staring at other people's laundry. So don't even try to hang those wet clothes outside on a Sunday.

In which country is it illegal to carry a Bible?

In Maldives, you're not allowed to publicly observe any religion other than Islam. It's also illegal to import Bibles into the country.

It's illegal to have a car lacking a Breathalyzer in which country?

In France, you're supposed to have a portable Breathalyzer in your vehicle at all times. If you're caught driving without the device, you could face an immediate fine.

In which country is marijuana illegal?

Jamaica has a reputation for reggae music and weed, but it's actually illegal to smoke marijuana there. So maybe just stick with rum this time around.

Public displays of affection are illegal in ______.

United Arab Emirates, like some other Middle Eastern countries, heavily frowns on public affection. There, you can be tossed in jail for smooching with your significant other.

In which country can you be fined for walking the streets in a bathing suit?

Locals in Grenada apparently got fed up with cruise ship tourists wandering city streets with their bellies (and other parts) hanging out. Police can fine people who stroll without proper attire.

Alcohol advertising is illegal in which nation?

Thailand has a very Buddhist culture that encourages the avoidance of intoxicants. It's why alcohol advertising is officially banned.

You can receive a fine if you use your car to splash pedestrians with water in which country?

It really should be illegal everywhere -- the moments when drivers blast through puddles and cause water to shower over people on sidewalks. And in Japan, you can receive a steep fine for doing so.

You can be fined if you turn off your headlights in _____ while driving , even during the day.

In Demark and other Scandinavian countries, headlights are a to be used at all times, even during the day. Turn them off and you'll risk a fine.

In which country is it illegal to carry durian fruit in public?

In some Asian countries, like Malaysia, it's illegal to carry durian fruit in public. Why? Because they smell awful -- a combination of a terrible chemical smell and rotting meat.

It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing in which country?

In Barbados and Jamaica, the authorities really don't like anyone other than the police wearing camouflage. You can be fined for looking like you're going deer hunting.

Which country has a law specifying that at least 35% of music played on the radio must be made by local musicians?

Canada is aware that its culture is sometimes overshadowed by its large southern neighbor. Thus, legislators decreed that more than one-third of all music on radio stations must be made by Canadian artists like, you know, Justin Bieber.

In which country can you be fined for driving a dirty car?

In Russia, specifically Moscow, you can be fined for having a dirty car. The guidelines for a fine, however, are more than a little vague.

In which country is it illegal to defame the king in public?

Thailand has a raft of laws intended to protect the king's fragile ego. If you speak ill of the king in public, you can face punishment.

It's illegal to take pictures of government buildings in which country?

Nigeria has a conservative population and its government does not like cameras. Take pictures of official buildings and military installations at your own risk.

You can be fined for driving shirtless in which nation?

Thailand frowns on exposed skin in public. So if you want to go for a shirtless drive, consider Mexico instead.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Cultural norms and political maneuverings affect laws all over the world, and sometimes the legislative process gets downright weird. Can you match these strange laws to their country of origin?

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!