Knowing the local laws of a country can save you from getting fined or arrested.
In Singapore, feeding pigeons will cost you $US500, walking in the nude at home is illegal, and selling gum could land you two years in jail.
We’ve put together a list of 16 things you might be surprised to find are illegal in the country, from singing offensive songs to spitting.
An earlier version of this post was written by Noah Plaue.
1. Selling gum
According to Singapore Statutes Online, the first-time penalty for the selling of gum can be as high as $US100,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years.
Penalties are subject to rise with each conviction, but certain chewing gums that have medical benefits will be allowed.
2. Annoying someone with a musical instrument
Singapore’s statutes state that playing an instrument in a public place in “a manner as to cause or be likely to cause annoyance to any person lawfully using a public road or in any public place shall be guilty of an offence” that includes a fine of up to $US1,000.
3. Flying a kite that interferes with public traffic
You can get a fine of up to $US5,000 if you happen to be flying a kite or “playing any game” that gets in the way of traffic in any public road.
If you’re caught singing or uttering songs that have either obscene lyrics or obscene “ballads” in any public place, you’ll face a punishment of imprisonment for up to three months, a fine, or even both.
Spitting isn’t the classiest act, but do it in any public place in Singapore — including coffee shops, markets, eating houses, school houses, theatres, public buildings, omnibuses, or public roads — and you’ll be slapped with a fine of up to $US1,000.
6. Distribution of “obscene” materials
The distribution of any materials deemed “obscene” is prohibited in Singapore. Any violation of this — whether it is photographs, a DVD, books, or figures — can get you up to three months in jail, a fine, or both.
7. Connecting to another user’s Wi-Fi
Singapore’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act defines using another person’s Wi-Fi network as hacking. If you’re caught doing the deed, you can be fined a whopping $US10,000, face up to three years in jail, or both.
8. Forgetting to flush the toilet
9. Walking in the nude at home
Wandering around your house nude with any open curtains can land you a fine of $US2,000, imprisonment for three months, or both. Both being nude in public and being nude in a private place where you are exposed to the public are considered public nuisances.
10. Feeding pigeons
You might not think it’s a big deal to toss your leftover sandwich bread to pigeons, but think twice when you’re in Singapore because feeding the birds here will cost you $US500.
11. Urinating in a public elevator
In Singapore, some public elevators come equipped with
Urine Detection Devices that set off an alarm and close the doors when any odor or urine is detected until the police arrive.
You shouldn’t litter in any country and it isn’t uncommon for littering to be against the law, but in Singapore, you’ll find yourself paying a $US1,000 fine for it.
In Singapore, vandalism can get you both arrested and caned. Singapore’s vandalism laws first shocked the media in 1994, after an American teenager received a caning as punishment for destroying cars and public property. Earlier this year, two men visiting the country also faced prison time and caning for painting graffiti on a public train.
14. Taking drugs before you enter the country
Penalties for drug possession in Singapore range from fines as high as $US20,000 to 10 years in prison. In certain cases, if the amount of the drug is high enough, the punishment can even be a death penalty. Singapore officials have the right to conduct anonymous drug tests without a warrant, so any drugs taken before you enter the country can still put you at risk.
15. Same-sex relations
Attempts were made last year to change the Singaporean laws which forbid two members of the same gender from being able to have sexual relations, but unfortunately the regulation still stands. The punishment for gay sex in Singapore is a two-year jail term.
In Singapore, jaywalking is defined as crossing the road within 50 meters (164 feet) of a crossing zone. Jaywalkers can receive a $US20 fine on the spot, a fine of up to $US1,000, or three months of jail time.The punishment doubles to a fine of up to $US2,000 and six months in jail if you’re caught jaywalking twice.
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