Unexpected customs bans

At all times, customs have fought against smuggling. So, in the past centuries, it was not allowed to transport heretical books, playing cards. Being on guard of state interests, customs officers confiscated secret maps of lands and fortresses from foreigners. Even monarchs could not be exempted from inspection.

Today, travel and border crossings are becoming commonplace, exotic countries are gaining particular popularity, the exoticism of which begins with customs control. The most innocent items from your luggage can cause a lot of inconvenience at the customs of another country. In some cases, unintentional violations of customs prohibitions are punishable by serious punishments, up to and including imprisonment.

  • In almost all countries in America, Africa and Australia, it is forbidden to transport perishable dairy or meat products. Specially trained customs dogs sniff luggage. Those who, upon arrival, did not hand over the "contraband" will face a very impressive fine.
  • In Kuwait, you will have to say goodbye to any food. Even water is not an exception.
  • At airports in the United States, New Zealand, Ireland and Japan, customs officials will trash all perishable food items except bread.
  • No less unusual is the ban on the import of bicycles and toys on wheels into New Zealand. The fact is that the tread of a rubber wheel may contain plant seeds, the entry of which into the soil can lead to a change in the unique flora of this island state.
  • In Nigeria, you can grab ordinary alcoholic drinks, but for an attempt to transport a bottle of champagne or other alcoholic "fizzy", customs officials will offer the tourist a choice - a large fine or imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Almost all Islamic countries have a ban on the import of pork in any form. Even pigskin products are prohibited in Libya. But at the same time, non-Muslims have the right to unlimited import of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
  • Libyan customs will not give permission to export fabrics, and Algerian – threads.
  • When traveling to the Philippines, do not bring abortion medication with you.
  • The list of items prohibited for import in Bolivia, Sao Tome and Principe includes lottery tickets from foreign countries.
  • It is prohibited to import matches into Pakistan and Nicaragua.
  • Chewing gum is smuggled under Singapore law. The reason for the "chewing" ban was quite understandable reason - the extreme pollution of the country's streets with chewing gum.
  • Vietnamese customs strictly monitor that no one can take out of the country Japanese-made goods, even souvenirs.

In many countries, there is a ban on the export of national currency. There was a case in one of the African countries when the customs office was going to fine a German tourist, having found several local banknotes on him. Since it was about an amount equivalent to just a few dollars, the tourist decided to get rid of the unfortunate pieces of paper by simply tearing them up in front of the customs officer, for which he paid with several months in prison for insulting the currency of a sovereign state.

The history of customs also contains curiosities ...

  • Once the French physicist Gay-Lussac ordered a batch of thin-walled glass tubes from Germany. However, German customs imposed a heavy duty on the export of glass products. A way out was found by the German colleague of Gay-Lussac, the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. He sealed the pipes and wrote on the package: "Attention! German air!" They don't take duties for air, for packaging – all the more so, the German scientist realized.
  • In America, a vigilant customs officer sent Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin for an X-ray, having heard the phrase escaped from the lips of a fan of the artist: "This is Chaliapin, he has a golden throat!"
  • And at one of the Roman airports, customs officers confiscated the New Year's parcel of the monk Peje, who sent it from the Republic of Malawi to the Order of Saint Monica, initiating a criminal case on the smuggling of items prohibited by environmentalists. The package contained an ivory chess set.
  • In Brest there is a whole museum of confiscated items called "Rescued Artistic Values", the exposition of which includes 400 items – all the most valuable things that Brest customs officers find on passengers in a double bottom of a suitcase or in a car lining and that falls under the definition of "antiques".
  • Swiss customs officers also have their own museum. They collected a variety of confiscated goods: from children's toys, umbrellas to a car.

It is also noteworthy that out of the many road signs that notify about the approach to any institution, only a prohibition sign notifies about the customs.

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