How Not to Break the Law Abroad
The world at times can be a confusing place with society changing in front of our eyes, with modern technology the world is becoming smaller and smaller. This also applies to international travel, the ability to travel from your town to another in a different country many kilometres away is amazing and different cultures are but a flight away.
In the joy that is gained from learning new cultures and areas of the world, there is also something you should know about. The rules and regulations of that country. From a ban on buddha tattoos to a person getting arrested for their swimwear. There is a whole world of unspoken rules. We as Irish people can at times be unaware of these rules and get in trouble abroad without knowing why. This can lead to your arrest abroad and many unwanted problems.
We have searched the internet extensively to bring to you unique stories and how unintentional actions can result in your arrest abroad.
A study. in 2015 found that a fifth of all British people was tattooed with the number of tattooed people increasing every year. With a need to visit sunny places to get away from the weather, we are often seen without a t-shirt or in some sort of swimwear displaying tattoos.
Let’s imagine, after your trip to Sri Lanka, you have explored your newfound interest in eastern culture and religion. Once back home, your friends ask you about your trip and new discoveries. The excitement fills your heart when you reveal to everyone your individualism with an artistic Buddha tattoo. Next summer, you plan your second trip to Sri Lanka to further experience “real” Buddhism, proudly displaying your tattoo. A police person walks up to you. You are under arrest.
This fate befell a British holidaymaker in 2014 when she was arrested for perceived insults to Buddhism as she was displaying her Buddha tattoo. All depictions of Buddha in a negative light is strictly prohibited in the country. Although no law prohibits this it is still highly frowned upon and anything can happen abroad.
Camouflage in the Caribbean
You might want to pack your favourite camo bikini or swim shorts on your trip to the beautiful Caribbean islands, although you might think you are hiding in plain sight and living out your military fantasy, beware. It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing on the Caribbean islands. This is due to the clothing resembling the colours worn by official military personnel or law enforcement.
This small mistake in attire can result in a £2400 fine or a year in jail, according to the police commissioner of Grenada. Rather stand out in your most colourful bikini or swim shorts.
Naked in nature
In late 2017 a San Diego couple was arrested in Bangkok after they had posted a butt-selfie on Instagram in front of a few sacred Thailand Monuments. This is considered a major offence in the country and disrespectful to their culture. The couple was imprisoned for a week and had a 5-year jail sentence hanging over their hands for the incident.
Thankfully in the case of this couple, they were let off the hook with just a £200 fine and deportation from the country. Thailand has strict rules concerning behaviour around religious sites. There are various stories about travellers taking naked pictures at sacred ruins and the problems that that causes.
Drone to Deportation
Picture this: you journey around the world blogging about your passion for travel. Iran is on your bucket list and you finally get your visa granted and now you're in the beautiful country of Iran. But then your dream turns into a nightmare, you get arrested and detained.
It happened to travel bloggers, Jolie King and Mark Firkin during their trip to Iran in 2019. Being professional bloggers, they would often use a drone to take beautiful shots of the various countries of their visits. Unbeknownst to them, they had been flying their drone without a valid Iranian licence which alerted the officials and led to their detention. Luckily this couple was released after political intervention from the Australian government.
Get out the Gum
An innocent piece of chewing gum can be enjoyable for a various number of reasons, while you are chewing away and blowing bubbles. Beware, this innocent act can land you in big trouble in Singapore.
Introduced in 1992, a ban on chewing gum was put into law to combat the mess that discarded chewing gums made in public places. This can be seen by us as folly. Although we might find it hard to believe this mistake can cost you more than you think. The cost of a fine for selling chewing gum can range from a fine of £49 000 or two years in prison. The law was changed in 2004 to allow for the sale of “therapeutic gum” with dental benefits. This is a well-known fact about Singapore but also be aware.
In summary, read up on a country's regulations before getting there to limit any chances of you breaking laws and incurring negative consequences.
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