Monday, 6 January 2014

How not to run foul with the law when travelling overseas

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a precautionary advice to her citizens when they were travelling or remaining overseas, urging them to be cautious, so as not to run foul with the local laws and rules.


Senior officer with the foreign ministry Mr. C. Hays claimed that many British citizens landed them in trouble whilst at overseas; some of them were locked up at foreign countries due to their nonchalance, impertinence and ignorance with the custom, culture and law of land they were travelling in. They encountered problems not for the cause of committing theft or consuming illegal drugs. British travelers particularly the backpackers were unaware that things they did whilst at foreign nations could jeopardize and disrupt their sojourn overseas when it was perfectly alright to do at homeland. FCO listed a few notable advices to be observed by all travelers that included all nationalities, apart from British citizens, viz.:

1.  Holland – Never carry with you banned drugs or unknown, unregistered medicine. Although the Dutch authority has a certain tolerance with soft-drug consuming, but it is confined to certain areas of the cities or zones. Carrying out trading or in possession of banned drugs would certainly land the perpetrator in hot soup. Apart from being arrested, confined to lock up, he would face a long jail term and a hefty fine.

2.  Venice – It is illegal to feed the pigeons. Wrong doers will face an amount of fine.


3.  Japan – It is illegal to carry with you nasal spray that contains pseudoephedrine. It is going to be a heavy fine if you do.

4.  Barcelona – Upon leaving the beaches of the Spanish coastline at Barcelona City, one cannot stroll around in Bikini, swim suit, or go about topless. It is going to be a fine.

5.  Singapore – The squeaky clean island country ban consuming chewing gum in Mass Rail Transit and other forms of public transport. The authority makes sure the offenders pay the fine plus rendering community service.

Long lines of tourist arrivals awaiting immigration
clearance at Bangkok's busy airport.
6.  Thailand – The tourist friendly nation ban the import of more than 200 sticks (1 carton) of cigarettes. Offender faces a heavy fine. The goods will be confiscated.

7.  Florence, Italy – Be very careful, not to consume food and drinks in and around the compound, perimeters, walkways and corridors, air wells and staircase of churches and public buildings. One could expect a fine.

8.  Saudi Arabia - Visitors and tourists will be arrested and imprisoned for taking pictures of government and public buildings, military camps and set-ups, and at any other restricted zone.

9.  Barbados – No one is allowed to wear colourful flowery dress, children included. (Not sure about this-this is an island resort paradise with hundreds of tourists swamping in everyday)

10.              Nigeria – travelers are not allowed to bring into the impoverished nation mineral water. It will be confiscated and a fine will be imposed.

11.              Fiji Islands – The sun-shined Island paradise ban topless sun-bathing.

12.              Maldives – Only Muslims are allowed to participate during any publicly held religious function. Non-Muslim locals and tourists will be arrested if they flout the ruling.

13.              Iran: All women folks must wear head scarves so as to hide their faces from public gaze; women tourists included.  The religious affair enforcers are given rights to detain, punish and abuse the offenders. The younger lady folks are actually good looking people, pity they need to cover up their pretty faces. Lately, there are signs that the women folks are more daring to reveal their charm despite the ongoing stringent rules regarding their appearance.

Parade of ghostly figures of Night of the living dead.

14.              Afghanistan – The poor lady folks are compelled to wear the compulsory “purdah-Burqa” dresses that envelope the full body from heads to toes. It is very comical, ludicrous and pitiful to see them being forced to abide their religious ruling. Foreign women visitors must covered themselves too to avoid being arrested.

15.              Malaysia – No dogs are allowed on board the LRT, railroad and bus commuting vehicles; the public is informed by explicit graphic on board that dogs are banned. Most Muslim in the country is paranoid about keeping dogs as pets. No ruling is stated regarding cats for which the Muslims so much love. However pigs, goats and chicken are not omitted too. It is understood that none of them should share the transport system with human commuters.

In Malaysia dogs are not allowed to be brought
into the commuter trains and LRT.
So far I do not see this sign yet aboard the LRT.
neither this sign
nor this sign of course

Honestly speaking, the introduction of service of Light Rail Transit about 15 years ago helped to cater some of the commuting needs of hundreds of thousand of citizens in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The LRT systems have been upgraded to cover a wider area to meet the need of more daily commuters, and that includes the introduction of new train coaches. Currently the MRT is vigorously under construction in the Klang Valley region. The project is expected to be ready by late 2016.

for reading

Original text was published in a Chinese News media.
The article was translated by

Alan CY Kok

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