You Won’t Believe These 20 Crazy International Laws



Have you ever been carrying out your day as normal, minding your own business when suddenly, out of nowhere, a stranger says that you must immediately stop what you’re doing? Getting told off for doing something entirely innocuous might be a mere irritation in your day — but have you ever stopped to think that, sometimes, you might actually be in the wrong?

All around the world there are obscure laws which, miraculously, still exist today. Whilst they are rarely enforced, many have actually not yet been taken off the books and still stand. Be careful where you tread, my friend, for the laws ahead might be a little muddy.

It’s Illegal To Handle A Salmon – UK

Under the Salmon Act of 1986 (yes, it really does exist), it was declared to be illegal to handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances. What constitutes as suspicious, though? Apparently, if a person has been involved in a relevant offence in relation to salmon, their handling of the fish can earn them a prison sentence. Fishy behavior will really cost you.

It’s Illegal To Kill Or Eat A Swan – UK

Across Britain, swans are admired as majestic birds, spanning the skies like angels from heaven, swooping into rivers and reservoirs with elegance and grace. It’s no wonder, then, that The Queen proclaimed all unmarked swans around the Thames area her personal property and if anyone should kill or eat the birds, they face some serious consequences.

It’s Illegal To Be Drunk In A Pub – Ireland

Are you planning a trip to the Emerald Island any time soon? Do you have plans to visit Dublin’s Guinness Factory, or spend your evenings listening to local music in a quaint pub? It’s all well and good, as long as you don’t get drunk doing it. In an obscure part of the 1872 Licensing Act, it is said to be illegal to to be drunk in any public place. Abusing the law is no laughing matter, either; police are licensed to give on the spot fines for anyone seen abusing this law and if you don’t pay up, you could face going to court. Now that would be the worst hangover ever.

In Wisconsin, It Is Illegal To Serve Butter Substitutes in State Prisons – US

In Wisconsin, if it’s not real butter, it’s not worth talking about. In a particularly obscure state law, it was declared to be illegal to serve prisoners anything other than genuine butter whilst they served in state prisons. If you’re found breaking this law, charges run from $100 fines, to $1,000 fines to, ironically, prison sentences. Here’s hoping they like butter.

It’s Illegal To Change A Lightbulb – Australia

In Victoria, it’s actually illegal to change a lightbulb within your own home, something which is impossible to observe and maintain in daily life. The saying goes that if you’re not committing a crime, you’re not having a good time and it seems likely that most Victoria townspeople have taken this saying and ran with it. The question is, however, what happened in this city which made it so dangerous for people to handle small electrical good in their own homes?

Taxi Cabs Must Carry a Bale of Hay – Australia

Have you ever found yourself driving in Australia and realized, suddenly, that you weren’t carrying any hay in your car? In a strange and very old Australian road law, it is actually illegal to drive anywhere in a taxi cab without carrying a bale of hay with you. The law hails from a time in which taxi cabs were made up of horses and carts and to ride without a bale of hay was similar to driving without any extra petrol to see you through your journey.

Women Are Incapable of Adultery – India

Having an affair in India is a serious thing. Embarking in a marital affair completely undermines the vows taken in marriage, the bond between a man and his wife and the rules of society. If you’re a man in India, you face pretty hefty persecution should you choose to sleep with a woman who isn’t your wife. If you’re the woman, however, you get off scot-free.

It Is Illegal to Kiss On The Railways – France

France, amongst other things, is home of the city of love, the capital of romance and huge, heart-felt gestures. If you get caught kissing on the railways in France, however, things might not turn out so well for you. In 1910, a law was released across France which prevented couples from kissing on the railways to avoid delays on train journeys. Punctuality clearly stands for no hanky-panky and if you were caught holding up the train, it was pretty serious back in the day.

It Is Illegal To Wear A Mask – Germany

Should you choose to protest when in Germany, make sure you don’t do it with a mask covering your face. In the 1980’s, a law was announced which made it illegal to cover your face or disguise your identity when taking place in public meetings. If V from V For Vendetta should find himself in Germany, then, things might turn a little sour.

Spanish Prostitutes Must Wear Protective Vests For Safety – Spain

Prostitutes working on a busy street outside a Northern Spanish town were ordered to wear fluorescent jackets for their own safety. Whilst some cities in Spain have outlawed prostitution, it is legal across the country as a whole and so drawing attention to the act on the streets is not as scandalous as you might first think.

It’s Illegal To Call A Pig Napoleon – France

Something bad must have happened in France’s history to make them bring up this law. Whilst we can’t imagine anyone choosing to name their pig after the historical leader, clearly France has other ideas and has therefore chosen to make the act illegal. Feel free to give your pigs any other name; just don’t insult the historical figure.

It’s Illegal To Get A Fish Drunk – Ohio, US

We’ve all had one of those nights when, out with our best fish, we’ve drunk a little too much, caused an accident or two and left a trail of destruction in our wake. In Ohio, they don’t stand for any funny business, so if you’re used to getting drunk with your fish, you’d better stop it right away, or face some serious consequences.

It’s Illegal For Unmarried Women To Parachute On Sundays – Florida, US

Apparently, there is nothing more unpleasant to a Floridian than the thought of an unmarried lady parachuting on a Sunday. And really, why would any single lady want to do such a thing? Unfortunately for the rule keepers of Florida, the law is broken pretty much every Sunday of the year, with few skydiving centres even knowing that they have to enforce the rule.

All Milanese Locals Must Smile At All Times – Italy

If you’re Milanese and are walking through a public space, you cannot be seen to be having a bad day. Frowners in the city face a heavy fine and unless you’re attending a funeral, or visiting someone on hospital, you must appear to be smiling all of the time. Here’s hoping you don’t have a resting b*tch face.

It’s Illegal To Wear A Suit Of Armour In Parliament – UK

Nowadays things are a little different and the UK’s law on wearing a suit of arms inside the Houses of Parliament seems a little, well, old fashioned. The law was designed, hundreds of years ago, to prevent conflict in the building of democracy but now, it’s pretty useless.

It’s Illegal To Chew Gum – Singapore

Clearly the people of Singapore don’t really care about fresh breath, for if you’re caught chewing gum, you could face some seriously hefty fines. Since 2004, only gum which is chewed for therapeutic reasons and prescribed by a doctor may be consumed and if you spit gum out onto the street, you could pay up to $500.

Donkeys Must Wear Diapers – Brazil

Taking hygiene to a whole other level, legal enforcers in Brazil require all donkeys and horses to wear a diaper at all times. In an apparent bid to clean up the streets, all defecators will be judged not only by the legal system but also, the local people. The burning question, of course, is do they even make diapers in that size?

It’s Illegal To Wear Pink Hot Pants On Sunday Afternoons – Victoria, Australia

It’s a-ok to wear pink hot pants to Church on a Sunday morning but as soon as that clock strikes midday, you must whip off your outfit into something more befitting. In an obscure and completely ludicrous law, all ladies of Victoria must be wearing appropriate attire in time for the afternoon barbecue.

It’s Illegal To Be Fat – Japan

In the country in which Sumo wrestlers weigh upwards of 500 pounds, it is illegal for you to be overweight. In a weird legal move, lawmakers made it against the law for a man to have a waistline over 31 inches and a woman to have one over 35 inches. How they’re going to govern this law is anyone’s guess; compulsory tape measuring supplies, perhaps?

It’s Illegla To Flush The Toilet After 10pm – Switzerland

Following the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” mentality, law enforcement in Switzerland makes it illegal to flush your toilet after 10 pm in an apartment building, no matter what. According to the government, the sound of water flushing is noise pollution and if you are heard disturbing your neighbors in this way, you’re in pretty big trouble.