Strange ways to get arrested when travelling overseas
EVERY year, about 1000 Australians get arrested overseas, according to Smarttraveller.com, the online portal of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which also publishes information on what to do once you've been arrested overseas.
But as the Wi-Fi is often terrible in stinking third world hellhole prisons and whoever arrests you is probably going to confiscate your smartphone, we thought it more prudent to dole out advice how not to get arrested overseas.
First you need to not get arrested on your flight, where doing things that can be acceptable in other public places like having a few too many drinks, slapping your best friend across the face really hard, joking about bombs or getting intimate with another person in the bathroom can land you in serious hot water.
You also need to do pretty much whatever your stewardesses tell you. Sure, they make look cute, but they're the law of the sky - ignore them at own peril.
Getting arrested when you touch down in a foreign country because of meds you're carrying is also something you want to avoid. If you're taking prescription medicine, carry them in their original box along with your doctor's prescription. If you're taking over-the-counter medications for a cold or a cough, stuff that generally has drugs like codeine or pseudoephedrine, then check the country you're visiting doesn't prohibit these drugs.
If you're visiting an Islamic country like Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates or the Maldives, we advise you to leave your sex toys at home. Jo Divine, an online magazine about sexual health, suggests "if you are concerned about your sex toys being confiscated or handled, consider shipping them to your destination."
But according to an anonymous not-so smart traveller posted a sex toy to "a friend" in Bali, that may not work, either: "I tried shipping two of them along with a bunch of other stuff in a care package. The post office called her in, gave her everything but the toys and wanted a million rupee ($A100) pay-off. She refused and so they kept them."
We've all heard stories of obscure countries with obscure laws like 'don't walk around nude in your hotel room' or 'don't feed the pigeons'. Whatever ... most of us are unlikely to visit those countries.
But in Singapore, the seventh most popular overseas destination for Australians, walking around naked in your hotel room and feeding the pigeons, along with singing and smoking in public, are all against the law. Punishment can take the form of fines, jail time and, if you're really bad, getting whipped with a 1.2m-long rattan cane.
According to The Straits Times, canning officers in Singapore are "trained to use their entire body weight" with every stroke and some caning officers hold "quite high" grades in martial arts. So basically what they're saying is Singapore has kung-fu caners. Our advice: don't get drunk and sing in public or spit chewing gum at pigeons in Singapore.
Germany, one of the world's most liberal democracies, can also be a legal landmine for Aussies abroad. Take, for example, the fact that there's no speed limit on parts of the Autobahn. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Drive as fast as you want and you the coppers can't do nothing. But run out of fuel on the Autobahn and you'll cop a huge fine for stopping without a good reason. It's also against the law to mention "1966" - the year England won the World Cup against West Germany - in any football stadium in Germany. On the upside, you can't be pronounced legally drunk, no matter how drunk you actually are, at the Oktoberfest in Munich.