Asia is home to some of the most ridiculous and outdated laws in the world. Some of its most ancient legislation that badly needed to be scrapped or updated have managed to endure until today.
Recent laws have also been passed in the region that are not only confusing for their citizens but also the rest of the world.
Here’s a roundup of the most head-scratching old and new laws that currently exist in 10 Asian countries.
In China, a law requiring grown children to visit their parents often was enacted in 2013. Under the “Elderly Rights Law” adults are required to attend to their parents’ “spiritual needs” and “never neglect or snub elderly people.”
It is illegal to step on money in Thailand as it is seen as a form of dishonoring the king (lèse-majesté) since the currency features a picture of him.
If you attempt to commit suicide in India and fail, it could land you a year in prison under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. There have been several attempts to remove the section, however it still stands today.
Since 2008, it has been deemed illegal to be fat in Japan under the “Metabo Law,” in which lawmakers have set a maximum waistline of 33.5 inches for men aged over 40 and 35.4 inches for women. Instead of jail time (as it may easily crowd the cells), those exceeding the limit will be given strict dieting guidance for several months.
South Korea‘s “Cinderella Law” prohibits children aged under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6 a.m. to address the increasing video game addiction problem. As a workaround, however, children can just log in to an account owned by their parents or play offline.
While it is not entirely illegal to be gay in Singapore, a law called “Outrages on decency” criminalizes sex or “any act of gross indecency” between two men.
One cannot cross-dress in Malaysia as it is illegal to “impersonate a woman” under its anti-trans law. Human Rights Watch reported that such law justifies the harassment of Muslim trans women, including “physical and sexual assault, extortion and violations of privacy.”
According to a defector, North Korea allegedly enforces what is dubbed as “Three Generations of Punishment,” which means If one person violates a law, the whole family of the convicted may be sent to work with them in a prison camp.
One can go bounty hunting in the Philippines just like the Wild West of old. It is the only country aside from the U.S. that permits capturing fugitives and criminals for money. Just recently, newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte even went as far as urging the public to shoot and kill drug dealers themselves.
Women in Saudi Arabia are still not allowed to drive despite several campaigns of women’s rights groups to defy the ban. They are also prohibited to travel, conduct official business, or undergo certain medical procedures without permission from their male guardian (relative or husband). There are also no laws defining the minimum age for marriage in the kingdom and any father can marry off his daughter at any age.