Society - Legal
By: - at May 15, 2013

15 Weird Actions That Are Prosecuted in the Modern World

Crimes all around the worldAll around the world, our actions and behaviors are taken in different contexts. What is considered offensive in one country may not be in another. Something as simple as chewing gum, littering, or other offenses can result in a variety of punishments. These punishments can include caning, fines, physical labor, jail time, or even death. How you are treated can depend upon the country you are in and the crime you committed. What can seem stupid or meaningless to you can be of vast importance in another country. Some cultures are harder on certain citizens just for their place of origin. Others may treat men in one way, while women are treated in a different manner. A variety of factors can be used to determine your punishment. However some cultures can have standard punishments no matter how severe the crime.


1)  Suicide is a Crime in North Korea
Suicide is a crimeOver the years many countries such as Canada, India, or many others have considered suicide a criminal act. However most of these countries have decriminalized this act. North Korea still considers suicide a criminal act. According to the North Korea government, punishment is dependent upon the individual, their status, as well as the crime committed. Although suicide is not illegal in many countries, assisting people in committing suicide is.

North Korea is aware that victims of suicide cannot be punished. Therefore the North Korean government punishes the relatives and family members of the victim for the crime of suicide. This law criminalizing suicide is suppose to help make the individual think about their family and loved ones. It is used to remind people to think about what their plans might mean for others around them. Generally all relatives are punished, not just specific ones. Punishments can range from a wide mixture of consequences. Common penalties can include working in a concentration or labor camp, prison, or even death.


2)  Women Are Not Allowed to Wear Pants
Women banned for wearing pantsThe right for women to wear pants has been in legislation in a multitude of countries. During February 2013, France removed a 200 year old ban. This ban denied women the right to wear pants. Over the years before dissolution of the legislation for banning women from wearing pants, it had minor amendments made to the existing law. The first amendment allowed women to wear pants while riding horses. The second change was to allow women the right to wear pants while riding a bicycle.

Another country that is known to instill this ban is Swaziland. However if a woman is caught in Swaziland with pants on, they are forcibly removed. Generally ripped off by soldiers and humiliated in multiple ways. Swaziland is also known for their bans used to try to help prevent and reduce the HIV and AIDS viruses. The sex ban requires young females to abstain from sex for 5 years. During this time, female individuals are not even allowed to shake hands with a male. They are also required to wear specific garments to symbolize they are not allowed to have sex. This country also blames rape on women for wearing inappropriate clothing. Swaziland has banned midriff shirts and skirts are required to be knee length, starting at age 10.


3)  Chinese Citizens Are Allowed to Have One Child
China one child policyChina is known for their vast population. The country has over 1 billion people living there. To help reduce the population in China, the government created a one child policy. Couples who choose to have more than one child are punished with heavy taxes. Although this can be seen as a method for overpopulation control, it has created many issues as well. Some areas will even avoid ultrasounds to prevent the couple from finding out the baby's gender. This is due to the likelihood of couples choosing to have abortions if it is female. Choosing to abort a child due to being female is known as female infanticide.

Occasionally there are situations where a second child is allowed. Generally these are only for couples who have a girl firstborn child. In some places in China, punishments for the illegal birth of a second child can be severe and affect multiple members of the family. To help enforce the one child policy, government officials have been known to take family members. These individuals can be jailed until the woman agrees to sterilization. Other times punishment for violating these crimes can also be placed upon the child. The Chinese government does this by not allowing the child to be registered. If a child is not registered in China, they are prevented state healthcare and education.


4)  Punished for Sexuality
Punished for SexualitySexual preference is not only debated in the United States, and it is a worldwide controversial issue. Although the United States has come a long way in gay, lesbian, and bisexual preferences, the rights of these individuals are still discriminated against every day. In some countries, homosexuality is even punishable by death. These can include entire countries such as Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. Other times it can only be specific regions of a country such as Nigeria or Malaysia. Countries around the world are both adding and removing this as a crime.

Death for these unfortunate victims does not generally come very easily either. Many times death methods include a variety of means. These can include hanging, flogging, or even decapitation. Countries such as Nigeria or Sudan also use stoning as a form of punishment for homosexual behavior. Some cultures, such as Dubai, are very conservative. The laws can affect not only homosexuals but heterosexuals as well. Two members of the opposite sex cannot share a hotel room unless the individuals are closely related or married.


5)  Time-Sensitive Laws and Regulations

There are many laws and regulations all over the world that prohibit people from committing certain acts after a certain time of day or even on particular days of the week. The exact reasoning behind many of these laws in unknown, but a great many of them stem from archaic town charters that were never rectified. For example, in many parts of Switzerland, after 10 p.m., it is against the law for a man to urinate while standing up. In the city of Bozeman, Montana, you are not allowed to perform any sexual acts, including kissing, in the front yard of any residence. It doesn't matter if you own the property or not. While this might seem like one of the oddest laws in existence, the state of Florida has one that's even odder when it comes to laws that are bound by time. According to a state regulation, people may not pass gas in a public building after six p.m.; however, what makes this law even stranger is that it only observed on one day of the week—Thursday.

In Bozeman, Montana, you are not allowed to perform any sexual acts, including kissing, in the front yard:
No Kissing in the front yard
 


6)  Laws About Animals
Dog smoking a cigaretteThere are regulations and laws all over the U.S. and throughout the world that protect animals from harm. Laws that prohibit the intentional harm of pets and other animals are well known, as are other laws that make the owner financially and personally responsible if the animal should harm people or property. There are lesser-known laws that prohibit actions with pets that go far beyond your typical leash laws. An Illinois law prohibits people from forcing their dog or cat to smoke. This law includes both putting lit cigars and cigarettes in your pet's mouth. The smoking implement must be lit in order for the law to be broken. In other parts of the world, laws are in place to protect animals from being sexually molested or penetrated, but in others, the laws are gender specific.

In some places, men are allowed to have sex with female animals only. In Lebanon, if a man is caught having sex with a male animal, he can be put to death. This is because in Lebanon, sodomy is considered a worse crime than bestiality. While this might seem bizarre, the U.S. isn't exempt from having laws like this in place. For instance, there is a law in Florida that specifically prohibits people from having sex with a porcupine. The reasons for banning sex with this particular animal are unclear, but one can imagine it's to prevent serious injury to both man and beast. While bestiality is highly taboo in most parts of the world, it still takes place behind closed doors, and there are not as many laws in place to prevent it as you might believe.


7)  Laws About Dolls
Crime for having dolls with non human facesDolls are beloved all around the world by both children and collectors. There are dolls of all shapes and sizes, and different countries all over the world have their own traditions when it comes to creating them. Each year, millions of dollars are spent on dolls and doll clothing, but even the most obsessive collector might not know that there are laws in place in different parts of the world about how they are made and dressed. Yes there are laws about the manner in which you dress your doll! Some of these laws stem from superstition and others from moral codes, and some are ignored while others are still enforced. France, which is a country that is known for creating some of the most lovely porcelain dolls in the world, has a strict law involving the creation and sale of dolls. All over the country, it is illegal to sell dolls that do not have human faces. This means that if dolls have human bodies, their faces must also be easily recognized as humans. As a result, you will never see a doll in France that looks like an alien or other kind of non-human creature. No matter the shop, any dolls that are sold must have faces that are human.

However, Europe isn't the only place that has specific laws about how their dolls should be treated. In the U.S., there are laws in place that concern the Barbie doll, one of the most popular and best-selling dolls in the country. Millions of these dolls are sold each year, along with cars, clothes, and even doll-sized homes that even have room for Barbie's pets. In the state of Indiana, there is a law in place that has to do with Barbie's boyfriend Ken. While the Ken doll isn't as popular with little girls as Barbie, there is a law in place in the state that prohibits anyone from dressing or displaying a Ken doll in Barbie's clothes. This law probably stems from some old-fashioned moral aesthetic, but it has never been removed from the state's rules and regulations.


8)  Marriage and Polygamy in Utah
Polygamy married couplesPolygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners. There is a long-standing belief that polygamy in Utah is legal. It is in fact a crime, even though many Mormon churches and groups are still very much for it. The federal government has been trying to crack down on multiple marriages within this sect. This is has proven to be difficult, especially when there are so many blockades in place with our nation’s belief of the separation of church and state. What makes this situation bizarre is that there also laws in Utah that are in place that prohibit men and women from living together if they aren't married. There are other groups in the state that are trying to get this law struck down, as many young couples who are not married find it confining and much too strict. Even though this law is in place, there are many churches in the area that still condone polygamy, even though it is illegal throughout the U.S.


9)  Music and Video Piracy
Illegal music is a crimeIllegal music and video downloads are available all over the Internet, and many people make a living under the radar by selling them. However, although most people see this as a scofflaw because "everybody does it," you can face severely heavy fines if you are caught. Just last year, the well-known file sharing site Megaupload was shut down by the FBI after several people uploaded scores of illegal content and urged others to do the same.

Ever since music and movies have been available online, there have been arguments about greedy musicians and studio heads who charge outrageous prices for legal downloads. Despite these moral arguments, uploading music and movies without paying those who own it is still punishable by law. Those who perpetrated the Megaupload scandal now face millions of dollars in fines, and personal property such as homes, cars, and jewelry have been seized. Others face jail time.


10)  Sodomy
Sodomy ProtestersSodomy is sex acts between a person and an animal. While sodomy laws in the U.S. have been legally overturned in federal courts, there are still several states that still count it as a crime, especially if it is a part of any homosexual act. While this violates many personal and civil laws, states such as Texas and Montana make it illegal only if you're homosexual. It is difficult to believe that these laws are still in place in the 21st century and that little is done to strike them down. Since some states are allowed to make and maintain their own laws, in some cases there is little that can be done. Many civil rights groups in these states are working to make people more aware of these laws and how discriminatory they are.


11)  The Solicitation of Prostitution
It is widely believed that prostitution is illegal in every state of the union but Nevada. The actual laws that make prostitution legal in Nevada only apply to a few out-of-the-way rural counties in the state. This is a sharp contrast to other countries in the world. In some countries prostitution is not only legal, but it is actually regulated as a profession by foreign governments. Countries located in South America and Africa have legalized prostitution. In many places where prostitution is seen as a crime, if both the prostitute and the person paying for the sex are caught, it is only the person who is paying that is prosecuted. In places where prostitution is legal, acts such as selling one's self on the streets or organizing personal stables of male or female prostitutes is illegal, since such practices are regulated by local government.

Solicitation of Prostitution


12)  Fraud and Lying
Online FraudIdentity theft and fraud are becoming more common, especially since it has become easier than ever to access people's personal information online. We are more vulnerable than ever to thieves who want to use other people's information and identities to open new lines of credit or steal the money they already have. Laws about Internet fraud are changing and the punishments are becoming more severe. There are lesser-known laws in the U.S. about lying or misrepresenting one's self. For example, if you live in Washington, presenting yourself as being from a wealthy family or telling people that your parents are rich is illegal. In some parts of the south, a divorced woman is forbidden from wearing white for her second marriage. While the latter might stem from old-fashioned moral codes, the former might prevent favoritism or discrimination when it comes to the highly competitive world of government employment or internship.


13)  Driving Incorrectly on the German Autobahn
German Autobahn TrafficWhile you can be fined heavily for driving over the speed limit on any U.S. road, the laws and rules for an autobahn in Germany are just the opposite. Although speeding laws and fines do exist, there are other ways that drivers can be fined that might seem odd to Americans. For example, if you break down or run out of gas on an American highway, it is legal to stop and pull over until help arrives. On the autobahn, running out of gas is illegal as it is seen as something that is completely avoidable. Stopping is highly discouraged on these speedy roadways, no matter the reason, and in some cases, the driver will be fined anywhere from 400 to 700 Euros.


14)  Claiming the Dead as Property
Claiming the Dead as PropertyWhile many state laws in the U.S. name the spouse or common-law spouse as next of kin and the person responsible for claiming a dead body, there are laws in place in the U.S. that prevent people from claiming a dead body as property. These laws are in place to protect the rights of the dead and the body itself. Furthermore, if a body is stolen or damaged, a surviving family member may collect for emotional trauma and suffering. They may not claim property damage for the despoiled body, as most U.S. courts do not view a dead body as anyone's property.

Violating graves and grave robbing are acts that are still heavily prosecuted in many counties, especially during war time. The Geneva Convention ruled in 1949 that violating the body or grave of an enemy was a punishable offense, a law that is still upheld today.


15)  You Can Lose Your Home to an HOA for Violating Their Rules
Lost home to HOAAll over the U.S., homeowner's associations (HOA) are responsible for creating and maintaining some of the most beautiful neighborhoods the country has to offer. These close-knit communities of like-minded people pride themselves on owning community areas, playgrounds, and maintaining their homes in ways that have been laid out according to the association's laws. Some of these laws and rules include everything from restricting people from building pools and fences on their properties to regulating what color they are allowed to paint their homes. While many homeowners see these communities as the perfect place to live, others have learned the hard way about what might happen when the rules are violated.

There have been many cases in which people have lost their homes to an HOA; this was not because they failed to pay their dues but because they committed some kind of minor violation. For example, a North Carolina man was threatened with foreclosure and had a lien put on his home by his HOA because he planted some flowers in a common area without permission. The homeowner felt that the common area looked drab and thought that the flowers would help improve things. Instead of being thanked, however, the HOA fined the man for this "unauthorized" planting. In order to keep his home, the man was forced to pay the fine—all because he planted the flowers without informing the HOA or asking permission. He is currently suing the HOA for nearly a hundred thousand dollars, but this is only one instance of how an HOA can damage someone's credit and mess with their livelihood.

While an HOA can improve your quality of life, you should always make sure that you can afford to pay the dues. Many people think that when they join, they can always find some way to get around paying them. However, many HOA's have extremely strict rules and have every right to take your home from you if you try and avoid paying your dues. This is especially true if you purchase a home that is already a part of a community that is run by an HOA. Some people have suffered through foreclosure because they were late on their HOA dues. Even homeowners that were 60 days overdue were foreclosed upon with little to no warning.


Conclusion
No spitting LawWhile some laws and rules are considered archaic and they are not enforced, depending on where you live, others are still in effect, and you can be prosecuted for something that you didn't even know was illegal. Up to a few years ago, Ohio had anti-spitting laws on the books that banned spitting anywhere around the public areas in cities. The legislation dates back to the time of consumption outbreaks. Consumption, or better known today as tuberculosis, was extremely contagious and used to spread from spitting. Some laws, such as the Texas sodomy laws, still target and persecute those who are homosexual. Others fight ancient religious statutes, such as the laws in Utah that fight polygamy, despite the fact that it is still widely practiced by those in the Mormon religion. When it comes to laws that protect copyright and personal identity, those who break these laws believe that the anonymity of the Internet will protect them, but those who have been caught have lost almost everything from having to pay heavy fines.

It is essential to remember that not all laws, regulations, and procedures are the same in every culture or in different regions. Whether you are traveling or plan to move to another country, you should first understand the areas' rules and regulations. These can range from social behavior differences to how you are allowed dress in public. In some countries, women must cover their heads. Other cultures require men and women to be separate while in public. Make sure to brush up on laws and other cultural information for the region you are going to visit.

By learning this information, you can help to avoid unnecessary punishments, embarrassments, or complications. Many cultures do not care if you are a tourist and just visiting. In some countries, officials may even use tourists as an example or a way to show their particular government will not tolerate the behavior. Think of Michael P, Fay, the young American who was caned in Singapore after a discrepancy with theft and vandalism. That they will show no leniency in any way, shape, or form. To avoid having to spend time in a foreign jail or spend your hard-earned vacation money on fines, take the time to understand how the laws of any region or country can affect you, your property, and your family.


 

 

 

 

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