20 Of The Most Ridiculous Laws Around The World

Published June 27, 2014
Updated November 7, 2023

In Lebanon, it's OK for men to sleep with animals if they're female. Don't go to Milan if you're sad. Read on for more funny laws that are actually real.

Ridiculous Laws

1. In the US, it’s legal for authorities to access any 180-day old email without a warrant. This law came into effect in 1986 under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The provision classifies those old e-mails as “abandoned”, which means that all authorities need to access them is a subpoena.

Women In Saudi Arabia

Source: ABC

2. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for any woman to drive a car. Oh, and divorce on all grounds is illegal; in 2008, a court wouldn’t allow an 8-year-old girl divorce from her 58-year-old husband. Basing much of its law on Sunni Islam and tribal customs, the World Economic Forum’s 2009 Global Gender Gap Report ranked the peninsular country 130th out of 134 for gender parity.

3. Unfortunately, in 29 states in the US, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. And in 33 states, it’s legally A-OK to fire someone for being transgender.

4. It’s legal for police in Greece to arrest anyone suspected of having HIV, forced HIV testing to ascertain and publicize HIV-positive people, and even have them evicted from their homes — certainly making this one of the most unbelievably stupid sex laws in the world.

Thailand Step On Money

Source: The Scoop

5. In Thailand, it is illegal to step on money (it has the face of the king on it and thus stepping on it is considered an insult to the monarchy), leave your house without underwear and dropping gum on the pavement can warrant a fine of $600. Thai law also requires all cinema-goers to stand during the National Anthem before a film starts.

6. In July 2013, China passed a law that legally requires children to visit their parents “often” and attend to their parent’s “spiritual needs”. Thankfully for those of us whose parents are about as warm as a canister of liquid nitrogen, “often” is indeed a subjective term.

7. Britain is home to a rather strange array of somewhat ridiculous laws involving food and beverages. For one, as part of the 1986 Salmon Act (yes, there is indeed a salmon act) it’s illegal to handle a salmon in “suspicious” circumstances.

For another, it’s also illegal to import potatoes into England or Wales if you have reasonable cause to believe that they are from Poland. It’s also, bizarrely, illegal to be drunk in a pub in Britain.

8. In other British animal absurdity, it’s against the law to allow your pet to mate with any pet from the royal house. If you happen to stumble upon a dead whale, the head is legally the property of your male sovereign, while the tail belongs to the Queen. Why? Whales and sturgeons are considered to be royal fish, and thus belong to the monarchy. We don’t get it, either.

9. In certain parts of India, a man can offer up his wife as repayment for his debts.

10. In Hong Kong, a wife is legally entitled to kill her husband with her bare hands – and only her bare hands – if she catches him cheating.

Funniest Laws In The World

Source: WordPress

11. Meanwhile, in Samoa, it’s illegal to forget your wife’s birthday.

Cheating In Bangladesh

Source: News Hopper

12. If you cheat on a final exam and are over the age of 15, you can be jailed in Bangladesh.

Switzerland Flushing

Source: Blogspot

13. In Switzerland, it is illegal to flush a toilet or for a man to urinate standing up after 10 PM.

14. In France, you can’t name your pig Napoleon because it’s an affront to its noble human counterpart, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Tower Of London

Source: Wikipedia

15. A law in Britain states that any Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.

16. If you masturbate in Indonesia and get caught, a popular myth is that you’ll get beheaded. According to Indonesian officials, the punishment isn’t so severe: bludgeoning the beefsteak in public can land you a maximum of 32 months in jail.

17. In the city of York, Britain, if a Scotsman is carrying a bow and arrow, you are allowed to murder him within the ancient city walls.

18. Talk about mixed messages. In Lebanon, any man may legally have sex with a female animal. If they are caught having sex with a male animal, though, the penalty is death. Homosexual bestiality is a sin.

19. In Milan, Italy, an archaic law requires citizens to smile at all times, unless visiting hospitals and funerals. Caught frowning? You’re liable to be fined by one of the world’s most ridiculous laws.

Burma No Internet

Source: DVB

20. Next time you take the internet for granted, know that in Burma anyone found in possession of a modem can be imprisoned.

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Cox, Savannah. "20 Of The Most Ridiculous Laws Around The World." AllThatsInteresting.com, June 27, 2014, https://allthatsinteresting.com/ridiculous-laws. Accessed April 19, 2024.