The World's Most Bizzare Laws

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Law; the system of rules which a particular country or community recognises as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. 

Some are necessary and some are so obvious that you wonder why it needed to be introduced in the first place. however there are laws from various countries around the world which can only be described as bizarre. 

We’ve listed a few of the world's most questionable laws and give our verdict on whether or not they should be kept or abolished.

Section 377A of the Penal Code - Singapore

In Singapore, Any male person who, in public or in private commits, abets the commission of, procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years.

This only applies to the male gender and no similar law is in place for females. The LGBT community of Singapore have embarked on multiple campaigns to have this law abolished, but as of yet are still to be successful.

Verdict - Abolish

It is Illegal to be drunk and in charge of cow

According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), over 70 people have been killed by cows in the last 15 years in Britain, so this law kind of makes sense. Cows aren’t known for their intelligence, and are difficult to control at the best of times, so no doubt it’s for the best that you’re sober when responsible for a herd.

Verdict - Keep

Titanic out of bounds without permission from the secretary of state

The UK has a law in place named “The Protection of Wrecks (RMS Titanic) order 2003” which prohibits anyone from entering the underwater ruins of the Titanic without permission from the secretary of state. 

Many argue that because the wreck is in international waters and that no one has raised the 66,000 tons of wreckage, that the Titanic belongs to no one, whilst others believe the sunken ship is owned by various insurance companies.

Verdict - Abolish

No person shall, in the course of a business, import into England, potatoes which he knows or has reasonable cause to suspect, are from Poland.

In 2004 the UK passed a law called “The Polish Potatoes Order” which makes it illegal to import potatoes from Poland without first giving a written notification to an inspector. 

It sounds insane, but due to an epidemic of ring rot, the Polish authorities implemented plant health legislations, bringing in measures that requires all consignments to be tested before leaving to other states in the EU.

Verdict - Keep

Danes can beat swedes with clubs if they cross the frozen sea

There’s an old forgotten law that specified that if the Oresund sea was to ever freeze and swedes were to cross over to Denmark, that Danish residents would legally be allowed to beat the swedes with sticks. 

The law was put in place when Sweden and Denmark were constantly at war, so it’s very unlikely it will ever be enforced as relations between the two are currently stable.

Verdict - Abolish

In Turkey, every state officer and civil servants must wear fedora hats when performing their duty

In November 1925, what can only be describes as a hat revolution began in Turkey, where Mustafa Kemal outlawed civil servants from wearing the tradition turban or fez, even holding a bizarre rally in Anatolia which was later named “The Hat Sermon”. 

Iskilipli Mehmed Atif Hodja, an Islamic scholar, opposed the “Hat Law” claiming it was absurd for muslims to try and dress like westerners. He was later arrested and was sentenced to death by hanging after a two day trial for speaking against Kemal. The Hat Law is still in effect today.

Verdict - Abolish

In France it is forbidden to name a pig Napoleon

There’s a french law called “offense against the head of state” where the president of France is protected against insults and defamation which could damage the President's honour or dignity with caricaturists having been previously sued under this law. 

In summary, it would only be illegal to name a pig Napoleon if the emperor was still France’s head of state. Nevertheless this law seems absurd to me.

Verdict - Abolish

It is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances in the UK

The Salmon Act of 1986 creates an offence for any person in England and Wales who receives or disposes of any Salmon in circumstances where he believes, or could reasonably believe, that the salmon has been illegally caught. 

The law is often cited as an absurd act, but it was actually put into place aiming to reduce salmon poaching in the UK.

Verdict - Keep

Animals must only be kept if they have a companion

In 2008 the Swiss introduced new animal rights codes which states that any animal kept in the country must have at least one companion of it’s own kind. From goldfish to guinea pig, no animal should will from loneliness if Switzerland have anything to say about it. 

The Swiss seem miles ahead the rest of the world when it comes to animal rights, going as far as recently pushing for a new law which would have entitled animals to be represented in court by a court appointed attorney, which unfortunately didn’t pass.

Verdict - Keep

In Thailand it is illegal to step on currency

Thailand’s head of state, the Royal Family, are absolutely adored by the Thai population, and can be found on any Thai Baht note. In Thai culture, presenting the soul of your foot to someone is considered offensive, hence why stomping on a depiction of The King is akin to setting a flag on fire. 

The penalty for stepping on a note can earn you up to fifteen years in prison. There has previously been cases where drunk tourists who’ve defaced the Thai Baht have been known to spend around three months in prison before being deported.

Verdict - Abolish

Swiss Sundays

Switzerland’s Article 257f of the Swiss renters’ law has made it so that it is against the law to hang your clothes out to dry, wash your car or mow your lawn on a Sunday. The article states that a tenant must be mindful of other tenants and neighbors, bringing me to the conclusion that the Swiss have got Sundays all figured out!

Verdict - Keep

What is the craziest law you've ever heard? Let me know in the comments!

Sam Ellis
Sam enjoys music, binge watching series, reading, motorcycles, hanging out with friends and talking all things weird and wonderful.
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