Weird Ways to Get Arrested Abroad

Travel & Escape

“Yes, it may be something to brag about when you get back home: you’re a tough traveller because you got arrested and lived to tell the tale, or you may get a few laughs when you tell your friends, “I got banned from this country.” But do you really want a red flag on your passport? We didn’t think so.”

Here are five countries where it’s surprisingly easy to get arrested or even deported—and how to avoid stepping on the wrong side of the law.

North Korea

It’s pretty easy to get deported from the legendary hermit state that is North Korea. You simply need to turn up and take some photos, or offend the Supreme Leader (or is it the Dear Leader?). Almost all the freedoms that we in the west take for granted—freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to visit our own capital city when we like, freedom to leave our country when we want—are illegal in North Korea.

If you go, don’t wander away from your tour group, and ask what you can take photos of before snapping away. And definitely don’t proclaim your love for South Korea in public, lest you want to receive a stern lecture before being escorted back to the airport—if you’re lucky. And if you do find yourself in trouble with the law, don’t put up a fight—you could end up being dragged off to a gulag or, worse.

(Image: Shutterstock)


In China, log on to well-known western social networking sites and you could just find yourself in trouble with the authorities. Speaking out against the ruling regime and taking photographs of sensitive infrastructure, such as the Parliament building or airports, tends not to go down too well with Chinese police, either.

But if you really want to get deported from China, all you have to say is “I support Tibet” or “I recognize Taiwan” and you will be given a free flight home sooner than you can say “Dalai Lama.”

(Image: nui7711 / Shutterstock)


Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the land of smiles every year without any trouble, but Thailand does have some draconian laws that may not be immediately evident. Thai authorities come down hard on drug smugglers and drug dealers, as the country is at the centre of the Golden Triangle of drug smuggling from Burma. If you’re caught in possession of any type of drug (including some over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol), you can expect to spend at up to 15 years in a Thai prison and if you are accused of shouting, fighting or refusing to bow to prison guards you could be beaten with batons or forced to wear a 20 kilogram leg chain and ball.

Speaking out against King Bhumibol is a criminal offense and is classed as treason, so expect to spend some time in prison. Speaking up for the Thaksin political regime also tends to land people in a lot of trouble with immigration officials. And “socializing” with the many lady boys or in the backstreet clubs is technically illegal, so possibly best to give these a miss when in Thailand.

(Image: 1000 WordsShutterstock)


Possibly the most liberal and relaxed country in Europe, Iceland might not seem hard to offend. But if you fall in love with a local Icelander and decide to settle in the country and raise a family, think twice before you name your child John or Steve or Terry. Icelanders must choose a name from a government-approved list of 3,500 names; if the chosen name is not on the list, it is possible to pay a fee to have it debated by the Icelandic Naming Committee. Fail to get your name approved by the committee, but still call your child Apple, and they will practically cease to exist under Icelandic law. Instead, they’ll officially be referred to as Stulka (girl) or Drengur (boy).

(Image: Shutterstock)


If you’re a man and you struggle remembering important dates (let’s say for example, your wife’s birthday), then you had better not move to Samoa, where it is a criminal act for a husband to forget his wife’s birthday.

Disclaimer: These are real laws and real punishments, so please don’t even try these on your travels—because it may not be as funny if you get sentenced to five years of hard labour in a North Korean gulag.

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(Image: Shutterstock)

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