Foreign Office warns British tourists to be aware of local laws

Aug. 28, 2013 at 1:33 AM
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LONDON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A U.K. passport is not a "get-out-of-jail-free card" and tourists should be aware of laws that could get them in trouble abroad, the Foreign Office says.

In a release Wednesday, officials said feeding pigeons is illegal in Venice, as is wearing camouflage clothing in Barbados. In the Maldives, practicing any religion other than Islam openly is against the law, while Barcelona bans bare chests for men and bikinis for women except on the beach.

In Singapore, a famously tidy city-state, chewing gum on trains is illegal.

Charles Hay, the consular services director, said about one in four requests for consular assistance are a result of arrests.

"Consular staff often find that travelers are unaware that local laws apply to them and many British nationals think of their British passport as a 'get out of jail free' card," he said. "While consular staff will always try to assist British nationals who find themselves in difficulty abroad, we can't interfere in another country's legal processes."

The Foreign Office website includes guidance on local laws for tourists.

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