It is arbitrary to say which country has the strictest or harshest laws in the world. Let’s face it, each country has good laws and bad laws in their legal system. And made to protect the majority of people living in the country.
Sometimes, there are influences that go beyond ‘common sense’ when making these laws. They are dependent on customs, religion and culture, or past dynasty from hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Other influences are down to the country’s political system and system of rules such as democracy, monarchy or dictatorship.
Below, I created a Table of Content that will helps you navigate this long-ass article.
Table of content
Or, should I say, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ruled by a theocratic republic known as the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. It makes Iran, a religious country and governed by Sharia law.
Within Sharia law, comes the old traditions. These laws may not be harsh in the past, they are now.
These harsh laws include:
1). Strict hairstyle policies; – From the beginning of 2010, Iran passed a “no mullet” policy across the country. It’s a ban on hairstyles with Western influences. They include the spiky hair, mullets, ponytails and gelled hair.
Those creating the law thinks these are devil worshipping hairstyles. And should have no place in Iranian society.
2). A woman is worth half than a man; – Complying with Sharia’s law, a woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man. One example is the trial of Reyhaneh Jabari. She received a death sentence because murdering her husband. Her claims were about acting in self-defence. But the Iranian government refused to investigate this claim.
3). The ban on homosexuality is conflicting; – Like other Arab nations, the act of homosexuality between two men can lead to the death penalty. Yet, gay-dating apps like Grinder is doing well in the country sending a weird message. It is like the Iranian government encouraging homosexuality to punish people.
Communism has celebrated 70 years of power in China. The country has been through a lot of downs due to the policies of their first leader, Mao Zedong.
After his death in 1976, China transformed itself into an economic powerhouse within 40 years. Yet, the country isn’t a democracy.
Although the law in the past saw improvement, the Communist Party in China still put a restriction on the access information. They don’t like people criticising the party.
Ignoring the laws criticising the party, let’s see which everyday laws are harsh.
1). Pornography; – No one can watch porn in China. Even images resembling nudity gets censored by the state apparatus.
2). The Hukou system; – it’s a system that is against the free movement of people and it is an old tradition. Implementing the Hukou system means you live your life where you are born. So, people moving to a different province can’t get access to healthcare and residency.
One popular reason is down to China’s economic framework. T coastal areas saw economic development first before the hinterland.
3). Reincarnation laws; – this is true. And, yes, Tibetan monks need permission from the Communist Party of China for reincarnation.
Don’t believe me?
Read about it under the State Religious Affairs Order No.4, was passed in 2007.
Singapore is a new country when it became a sovereign state in 1965. It is also a democracy. That doesn’t mean they don’t have harsh laws in place. There are cultural influences, along with a party that is conservative in nature.
These are some harsh laws from Singapore:
1). Chewing gum; – Importing chewing gum in Singapore will land you a $100,000 Singapore Dollar fine and a two-year prison sentence. Yet, you can chew gum in the country.
2). Littering fines; – Singapore is the cleanest city in the world because of strict laws fining people $1,000 Singapore Dollars for littering.
3). Gay sex; – Unfortunately, gay sex is a punishment in Singapore, despite attempts to amend them. It carries a two-year sentence.
Pakistan is another new country like Singapore, but slightly older. Formed from the British Empire in 1947. Although Pakistan is a Muslim (96% of the population), you would think it’s like to Iran and govern by Sharia law. Unlike Iran, Pakistan is a democracy and has a better legal system.
In fact, Pakistan follows three different legal systems to appease the populace.
With the complications of three legal systems (one of them is Sharia), it makes for some weird laws, if not harsh. These are; –
Blasphemy laws; – Surprisingly, the British have made a lot of contribution to these blasphemy laws. That rubbed off on Pakistan and they inherit these laws into their legal system.
Yet, these blasphemy laws became more severe after during the 80s when it was under military rule. For instance, before 1986, a total of 14 people got charged with blasphemy. Between 1987 and 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and 75 were given the death sentence.
N.B.: For those who don’t know what blasphemy is, its making fun or offending someone religion.
Getting a girlfriend is illegal; – Under Sharia law, you can’t live with the person you are in a relationship with, before marriage. Also, dating is illegal, though people in the country tend to ignore them.
No touching someone’s phone; – Yes, there is a punishment for touching someone’s phone without their permission. Seriously, this is true and could land up to six months in jail.
The crazy nation that is North Korea needs no introduction. Ruled by a fear-mongering dynasty known as ‘the Kim’s’, and Kim Jong Un is the third leader.
Unlike the South, the North rules with an iron fist. With that fist comes harsh restriction on peoples’ thoughts, freedom and choices.
Punishment for stealing propaganda material; – this one is probably a ‘one-off’ event (without ruling out copycats). An American student, Otto Warmbier tries to steal a piece of propaganda from his hotel room and was caught. Otto apologises on national T.V. and received a 15-year sentence for hard labour.
President Trump got him released and bought back to the United States. Otto was in a vegetative state and died a few days later.
Hairstyle police; – The Korean authority love controlling people hairstyle. Men get 10 styles to choose from and woman has 18. Anyone thinking of getting spiky hair and mullets are severely fine or face going to labour camps.
No international calls; – We know North Koreans can’t travel outside the country unless they are a diplomat or a secret agent. Many of you didn’t know the people of North Korea can’t make international calls.
Love thy leader; – The leader of North Korea commands his people to show love to him. Anyone, showing disrespect can expect severe punishment or even death. That’s why we see people crying their eyes out when Kim Jong-Un’s father died in 2011.
Say no to capitalism; – Let me ask you a question: “What is capitalism to you?”
Your answer could well be the free flow of capital to investible projects that are likely to turn a profit in the future.
For North Korea, their definition of capitalism means something different. To them, it means wearing jeans, eating out in McDonald’s and buying coffee in Starbucks.
The Russian Federation is the result of the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In the last 19 years, one man named Vladimir Putin has been in charge of the country.
Despite this, the country saw strides towards the rule of law. But it lags behind their Western counterparts. So, what sort of laws in Russia that will make Western nations cringe?
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity; – Russia has discriminatory policies towards ‘LGBT’ people.
For example, a person named Samara got fined $865 for promoting gay rights that the authorities called “gay propaganda!”
Yet, there was another case, when a person sued a shop for discriminating him a job because he was gay. The person won $505 from the shop owner.
Blogging; – If you have 3,000 visitors per day on your website, you must register as a media outlet, otherwise, you could get a fine of $280 to $1,400.
People think Canada is the friendliest country in the world with the most liberal of laws. What could possibly go wrong?
If laws are too liberal, it can have the opposite effect. Let me explain.
People in the centre or is conservative view these laws as problematic and could violate freedom of expression.
What are these liberal laws in Canada?
Colour choice; – In Beaconsfield, Quebec, homes should be no more than two colours, otherwise you face a fine.
Illegal to whistle; – According to Article 3, 772.3.6 on Petrolia, Ontario, whistling, hooting, shouting or singing is illegal if people deem it too loud. It’s very subjective.
No tall grass; – Yes, it’s against the law for having grass higher than eight inches in London, Ontario. The city will send someone to cut your lawn and hand you the bill.
Parrot noise; – A noisy pet parrot could land you a fine of $100 in Oak Bay.
Purple; – People in Kanata, Ontario don’t like the colour purple. If they find your purple garage, you will receive a fine.
Can’t sell comics; – Violent comics aren’t allowed in Canada. Might as well apply to most comics.
Oysters; – It is a criminal offence for showing oysters inhumane treatment before eating it.
Japan has enjoyed a long-spell of democracy since the end of World War II. The country rebuilt from the ground up. At one point, it became the second-largest economy in the world. It got overtaken by China in 2010. It is famous for its technology products and Anime. Also, it does a lot of cute stuff that got the ladies gasping in wonder.
Yet, the country’s laws are on the conservative side of things, especially when it comes to their immigration laws.
Refugee laws; – Japan is largely a homogeneous country meaning 98% of the country is Japanese. Despite Japan falling birth rate leading to a declining population, it has strict refugee policies.
For example, in the first half of 2018, a total of 5,586 people applies for refugee status, only 43 people got approval from the Justice Ministry.
A child needs a father recognition; – When a Japanese man has a child out of wedlock from a foreign mother, he must ‘officially’ recognise the baby in the womb to be a Japanese citizen. Strange, but true!
Like Canada, we don’t expect the Aussies to appear in this list. Then, again, what do I know!
You are in for a surprise.
Memes law; – Section 132A part 2 of Australia’s Copyright Act states that posting memes are infringing the original image.
No crushing beer cans; – In Western Australia, crushing cans with your tits is an offend. A 31-year-old barmaid got fined a $1,000 for it.
Greece invented ‘democracy’ and pioneer the system for over 3,000 years. Greece is at the forefront of justice, equality and liberal freedom.
But we are forgetting a democracy doesn’t mean modern laws for modern times. There are customs, if changed, people would protest on the streets. It’s that people point of views of what’s harsh differs.
Banning video games; – What began as banning games to combat illegal gambling in 2002 became a nationwide ban on all video games in 2003.
Dubai, United Arab Emirate
The United Arab Emirate is a country where its native citizens, ‘the Emirati’ is a minority. In fact, it only represents 12% of the country’s population. Nearly, 50% of the population came from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Interesting population’s fact, but is it relevant to the country’s harsh laws?
Apart from it being a Muslim nation, it isn’t.
You can’t wash your car or employ someone to do so; – You can’t wash your car in Dubai because it distorts the city’s beautiful image. Plus, it causes water pollution in the streets and sewers.
The right way to wash your car is to go to the petrol stations or car parks shopping malls to drive your car because they have the correct facilities to do so.
Having a dirty car; – Yes, you have to clean your car to improve the city image. Otherwise, your car gets tows and you face a fine of £647.
N.B.: Wash your car in Dubai, the right way and don’t let it gather sand.
Sleeping with your partner; – it’s another Sharia law that sex outside of marriage is illegal. This could apply to foreign travellers! So, make sure to stay in separate rooms and avoid kissing in public.
Using a VPN; – getting caught using a VPN, you face a fine between £107,855 and £431,421. That’s because a VPN breaks the country’s cybercrime laws for having a false IP address.
The legal system in Indonesia is largely a civil law, and most of them relate to the Dutch colonial laws. It’s because of 350 years of Dutch’s occupation. Here are some harsh laws, Indonesians and foreigners need to abide:
Drugs; – Yes, weed, heroin and cocaine are ‘Group 1’ drugs in the country. If you get caught using it there is a heavy fine or two years in prison.
If you get caught ‘trafficking’ drugs, you could receive the death sentence. Yes, that includes foreigners! For example, a Frenchmen received a death sentence for trafficking 3kg of drugs.
Masturbation; – According to The Guardian, masturbation in Indonesia carries a prison sentence of 32 months.
Yes, these were some harsh laws from around the world. Most of these laws don’t surprise because I expect them to have it in place. Yet, there were a few laws that caught me by surprise, such as needing permission for reincarnation by the Chinese authorities.
Anyway, I hope this article helps you understand these laws do exist in the modern-era and won’t be going away anytime soon.