You might not think that flushing the toilet after 10pm in Switzerland, giving alcohol to a moose in Alaska or swearing in the United Arab Emirates have anything in common. But, in fact, they make up some some of the world’s most bizarre laws that could land you with a hefty fine, or even jail time in some countries. In some parts of Spain , for instance, it is illegal to make sandcastles, while in Scotland it is illegal to ride a cow while drunk. Here, MailOnline highlights 21 of the world’s most baffling laws.
In a bizarre law, it is illegal to serve alcohol to moose in Fairbanks, Alaska. Moose can become aggressive if they drink alcohol or fermented fruits. In 2007, a moose, who was later named by locals as Buzzwinkle, went on a drunken rampage after drinking a local brewery’s supply. Buzzwinkle became tangled in Christmas lights and was found in a drunken stupor by locals in the town square and officials later introduced a law to try to prevent the moose’s drunken escapades.
It is illegal to flush the toilet after 10pm in an apartment building in Switzerland as the government considers it noise pollution. It is common for landlords to impose house rules whereby residents are not allowed to flush their toilet between the hours of 10pm and 7am as it may disturb their neighbors.
If you dare to fall asleep while the North Korean dictator is speaking, the consequences could be fatal. General Hyon Yong Chol, a defense minister, was reportedly executed with an anti-aircraft gun in 2014 after he fell asleep during a meeting with Kim. Meanwhile, in 2016, a North Korean firing squad shot and killed Kim Yong-Jin, a vice premier for education, for falling asleep during a meeting with the dictator. Kim Yong-Jin was interrogated by investigators and labelled an ‘anti-party, anti-revolutionary agitator’ and sentenced to death. It is also an offense in Scotland to be drunkenly in charge of a cow and horse, according to the Licensing Act 1872, which means riding a cow while intoxicated is out of the question. If found guilty, one could be jailed for up to 51 weeks.
In the United Arab Emirates, if you are caught swearing, you could face a fine, jail or deportation. The country’s penal code states that ‘swearing disgraces the honor or the modesty of a person.’ The law does not just include a spoken word, it extends to text messages and social media, including ‘indecent’ emojis. In Florida, US, it is illegal to pass wind in a public place after 6pm as you would be deemed to be causing a public nuisance. It’s not clear how this law would be enforced – but it might be best to rush home to avoid passing wind in public.
In some areas of Spain, it is illegal for children and adults alike to build sandcastles on beaches in a bizarre law. In 2016, Benidorm’s Town Hall voted to ban sandcastles from Levante beach – and if you are caught building them, you could face a fine of up to €150 ($160). The same rule applies for Arona and Arica in Tenerife, with members of the public being required to apply for a municipal permit before building a sand castle.
In Barcelona, it is illegal to go bare-chested or wear a bikini except at the city’s beaches. Walking along the city’s streets while wearing only swimwear could land you with a £250 ($305) fine. Locals have become frustrated in recent years with tourists and they are often outnumbered by the throngs of foreign visitors that flood Spain’s top tourist destination each summer. Officials introduced the ban on the public wearing swimwear in Barcelona’s streets in 2011 after becoming frustrated with the number of tourists walking around restaurants and shops while in bikinis or topless. In Norway, it is illegal to set off fireworks – apart from on New Year’s Eve from 6pm to 3am on January 1 each year. Any fireworks that are lit at any other time are illegal under Norwegian law. There are also strict laws about when and where the public can buy fireworks from in Norway. They can only be bought in the days running up to New Year’s Eve.
Dog owners in Turin, Italy, will be fined up to 500 euros ($540) if they don’t walk their dogs at least three times a day under a law from the city’s council. Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros ($10,830) and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets. In Russia, lacy underwear is effectively banned in Russia under regulations that were introduced in 2014. A customs union made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan introduced a regulation which requires clothing to contain at least 6 per cent cotton for ‘health and safety’ reasons. Underwear that does not meet this requirement – which includes lacy lingerie – is not available in those countries. The production and importation of the underwear has also stopped.
In La Paz, Bolivia, a bizarre law makes it illegal for restaurants or bars to serve married women more than one glass of wine. The law is to reportedly to prevent women from getting ‘morally and sexually lax’ and flirting with other men while under the influence of alcohol. The law does not apply to married men. In Norway, Sunday is a day of rest and by law, you are not allowed to carry out any activity that makes a lot of noise – and that includes mowing your lawn. If your neighbors do call the police after they catch you mowing your lawn on a Sunday, officers could tell you stop. And if you don’t they could visit your home and hand out a fine. In Singapore, it is illegal to litter and first time-offenders can be fined up to 1,000 Singaporean dollars ($780). Repeat offenders will be fined 2,000 Singaporean dollars ($1515) and have to carry out community work. The litterers, by law, must spend a few hours cleaning a public place, such as a public park, while wearing bright jackets. On occasion, local media are invited to cover the event.
Save for Sumo wrestlers, people in Japan will be fined if their waistline is too big in a national attempt to slim down citizens. Under the ‘Metabo’ law, people between the ages of 40 and 74, have their waistlines measured against state-prescribed limits. Those exceeding government limits – 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women – may face fines. Pet owners are not allowed to neuter their dogs without a good medical reason is illegal in Norway. Vets in the country will not neuter the pets unless there is a cause to – including tumors in the reproductive organs – as part of an animal welfare law which stipulates that no animal can undergo the risk of surgery unless for medical reasons. Regular neutering is also illegal in Norway, meaning that dogs are given a hormone implant that acts as a chemical neutering. If you own any chickens in Quitman, a city in Georgia, it is illegal to let them cross the road. The law stipulates that owners must have their chickens under control at all times. In Thailand, it is illegal to leave the house without any underwear on as part of a law on public indecency. It is not clear how the police enforce this law. Eating and drinking is banned on all forms of public transport and their stations in the UAE. If you are caught doing either on the train or bus, you will be fined £21 ($25).
In Singapore, it is illegal to spit in a public place. Those who are caught spitting can be fined 1,000 Singaporean dollars ($780) for the first offense. If you are caught a second time, you can be fined up to 2,000 Singaporean dollars ($1520). For a third time and subsequent offenses, you can be fined up to 5,000 Singaporean dollars ($$3790). It is illegal for couples to kiss in French train stations on a platform. The bizarre law was introduced in 1910 in attempt to avoid costly delays to train services and overcrowding in stations. But since 1910, the law has become more lax and people do not face a formal penalty today.
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