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10 Things You Didn’t Know Were Illegal Around the World

illegal things around the world

You might be violating certain weird laws without even knowing it. Some laws are so unusual that a person can’t even know them but could get in big trouble by breaking them. Can you imagine carrying a permanent marker, capturing the picture of the Eiffel tower, or having pepper spray can be illegal? But these are the laws in most of the countries of the world. Before visiting a country, make sure you know about its laws, or else you could be fined. Here are the 10 weird things that are illegal, but most people don’t know.

1. Insulting the King of Thailand

You can be arrested and sentenced to three to 15 years for defaming, insulting, or threatening the king, queen, heir-apparent, heir-presumptive, and regent in Thailand. Lèse-majesté (a French term meaning “to do wrong to majesty”) is a crime in Thailand according to Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code.

Thailand's King
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida attend the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. Image credit: tnst / Shutterstock

Prohibition of insulting the king of Thailand is one of the weird things that are illegal. The royalty, king, queen, heir-apparent, heir-presumptive, and regent are protected from defaming, insulting, or threats by Section 112 of the country’s penal code.

The law has existed since the early 1900s when we knew Thailand as Siam. The king of Thailand is perceived as “enthroned in a revered worship position,“ and the Thai monarchy is seen as a sacred institution.

When someone breaks the law, he can be imprisoned for three to 15 years. Among all the prosecutions, one was for defaming the pet dog of the king. The country has seen as long as 43 years and six months of imprisonment for insulting and defaming the

Thai royalty. A 29-year-old single mother posted anti-monarchy content on Facebook and was sentenced to 56 years of imprisonment. However, her sentence was halved after agreeing to plead guilty. (1, 2, 3)

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2. Capturing the Photograph of the Eiffel Tower at Night

It is illegal to take photos of the Eiffel Tower after it gets dark. It is a copyright infringement when you profit from the photo of the Eiffel Tower when its lights are on. The beautiful lights we see on the tower are an artistic work, therefore, if you take the picture at night, you’re breaking the law.

Eiffel Tower
Image credit: Shutterstock

Capturing the photo of the Eiffel Tower can be a crime! It is quite shocking and among the weird things that are illegal but true. Capturing photos of the Eiffel Tower at night is a crime.

Capturing the photo of the landmark of Paris once it gets dark and then attempting to profit from the photo is considered copyright infringement. You can take as many pictures of the Eiffel Tower as you want during the daytime, but not at dusk.

The Eiffel Tower has been present since 1993, but the lights were installed in 1985 and are believed to be a separate artistic work. European Union copyright laws say that artistic works including a song, photo, painting, building, or video are covered for the lifetime of their creator plus 70 years.

This means that the copyright issue will expire 70 years after the death of the creator. And the creator of the lights, Pierre Bideau, remains alive today. Therefore, we’ll face this copyright for decades.

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According to Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the management of the tower, the lights of the Eiffel Tower are artistic work, and therefore you need permission for capturing the photo.

Also, you have to pay for this act and the payment depends on intended use, the media plan, etc. Even sharing the pictures on social media is counted as distribution of the photo and a violation of the law. (1, 2, 3)

3. Handling the Salmon in the UK

Handling salmon is illegal according to the Salmon Act in the Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, which was passed in 1986. The law contains a provision that claims it illegal to “handle salmon in suspicious circumstances.” You’re breaking the law if you hold a salmon in states where fishing for salmon is illegal or believed that it is illegal.

Handling Salmon
Image credit: Shutterstock

It seems that handling a salmon in suspicious circumstances might be a traditional law, but it is present in Section 32 of the Salmon Act of1986.

This section makes it a criminal offense in England, Wales, or Scotland when a person receives or disposes of salmon in any situations where they believe, or a passerby believes, that the person has illegally fished the salmon. It is among those weird laws where it is prohibited to take, kill, or sell salmon. (1, 2)

4. Pepper Spray

Carrying pepper spray is among the 10 weird things that are illegal. In the UK, pepper spray is used by the police. It’s prohibited by the general public to carry pepper spray. The law says that it is not permitted because it is classed as a Section 5 weapon, and the noxious spray can affect the eyes.

Pepper Spray
Image credit: Shutterstock

Pepper spray is also known as desmethyldiydrocapcaicin and is categorized as a Section 5 weapon. It is commonly used by the police to restrain someone who is being aggressive. The ownership, use, or carrying of pepper spray by the general public is banned in the UK under Section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968.

Carrying pepper spray is among the list of illegal things. The law says that it is prohibited to carry or use a weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious gas, liquid, or anything else. The penalties for carrying pepper spray are similar to that of carrying a gun. A person might even be deported from the UK.

The spray is dispensed from a handheld canister and can go as far as four meters. However, the spray is legal in countries like Spain, Italy, Russia, France, and others. But, using it against any person generally constitutes assault in the EU. (1, 2, 3)

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5. Atheists Can’t Hold Public Office

In some states of the US, there are weird laws saying that you can’t hold a public office if you’re an atheist. In Arkansas, you can’t hold a public office as well as can’t testify in court if you don’t believe in the existence of God. Tennessee also has some guidelines about the belief in the hereafter.

Atheist
Image credit: Shutterstock

Laws that prohibit atheists from holding a public office are among things that are illegal but should be legal. In eight states of the US, it’s illegal to hold a public office if you’re an atheist. These states are Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee.

In Arkansas, it is illegal for an atheist to hold any office in the civil departments or be able to appear as a witness in court, according to Article 19, Section 1. Tennessee’s Constitution prohibits atheists, ministers, and groups engaging in duels for holding a public office. However, efforts are being made for the ministers, but atheists and duelists will remain prohibited.

The reason for banning atheists is that they can never be trusted to be good citizens in a democracy. In 1992, an atheist and a math professor, Herb Silverman, was denied a position as a notary public because of the ban on atheists in South Carolina. (1, 2, 3)

Also read: 12 Weird Lawsuits Filed by People

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