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3 bizarre laws you should know about before traveling to certain countries

Posted July 13

Let’s review a few of those bizarre foreign laws so that you can spend your vacation relaxing on the beach rather than stuck in a jail desperately calling up your lawyer or having to deal with a fine. (Deseret Photo)

The U.S. has its fair share of odd laws. In Utah, it is illegal to ride your bike without having any hands on the handlebars. It is also illegal to catch fish using electricity or explosives.

Here’s an even weirder law. In California, if a frog dies in a frog-jumping contest, it is then illegal to eat that frog.

Those laws are strange indeed, but when you travel abroad, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some laws that are even stranger. It is always a good idea to be aware of the laws and customs of a country before you travel there.

Let’s review a few unusual foreign laws so that you can spend your vacation relaxing on the beach rather than stuck in a jail desperately calling up your lawyer or having to deal with a fine.

Littering chewing gum in Singapore

A ban on chewing gum was implemented in Singapore in 1992, and while it was lifted in 2004, if you’re caught spitting out gum on the ground, you’ll be fined $700.

That penalty sounds a little absurd, but it makes sense when you look at the history behind the ban. Singapore is dense, with a population of well over 5 million crammed into the space of just 278 square miles. It’s hard to keep things hygienic with a population density like that (almost 18,000 people per square mile.).

Before the ban, the sheer volume of disposed chewing gum took an enormous amount of time and resources to clean up. There was also the problem of vandals damaging property by sticking used gum in mail slots, keyholes, and other such places.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when people kept sticking gum in the door sensors of Mass Rapid Transit cars. The Mass Rapid Transit, a $5 billion railway system, was the largest public project ever built in the country at the time. Messing with mail slots and keyholes was one thing, but damaging the Mass Rapid Transit system was just too much. A few years after the Mass Rapid Transit began operating (1987), the chewing gum ban was enacted (1992), according to BBC News.

Don’t die In Sellia

In this world where everyone dies, it doesn’t seem fair for someone to be penalized for dying — it’s not like we have a choice in the matter. And yet, several towns in Europe have outlawed dying within the municipality, including the charming little village of Sellia in Italy.

“By law, I could not (ban dying) directly,”Davide Zicchinella, the mayor of Sellia, told the local media. “You cannot order an impossibility by law. But my intention is to fight death… We’ve put this measure into effect not as a joke, but as something truly serious, because Sellia, like many other towns in southern Italy, is affected by depopulation. Those who don’t take good care of themselves, or who take on habits that are against their health, will be punished with more taxes.”

Those who refuse to take the necessary steps to comply with this law and attend health checks can expect to be fined €10 ($11) a year, according to The Guardian.

Stick To Flats In Greece

Greece is a popular destination for tourists, as it features world-famous historical attractions like the Acropolis of Athens, Delphi, and many more ancient monuments.

To better preserve those sites, Greek officials have placed a ban on high heels.

“Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments,” Eleni Korka, Director of Greek Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, told the Daily Mail. “These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must realize that.”

So stick to flats when you’re seeing the sights in Greece — you’ll be more comfortable, anyway.

Be sure to adhere to all these laws and you should be able to avoid jail time and fines while you’re traveling abroad. Bon voyage!

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