10 Countries With The Strictest Laws In The World

Category: Financial News

Discipline and strict enforcement of the policies and the laws of the land may be seen as harsh implementations by many but viewed as a necessary tool by others. Some say that overflowing strictness borders on oppression and this often leads to resentment of the people. However, advocates of stern application of the rules debate that lenient measures result in uncooperative citizens who will never take authority seriously.

Whatever their reasons, the following nations are champions of strict governance and implementation of their laws. Some may be bounded by tradition. Others by religion. But these countries are serious when it comes to their policies and this is something you should consider before entering their boundaries.

10. North Korea


The only country today that is still purely Communist, North Korea accepts tourists from other nations other than South Korea and the United States. Tourists are assigned personal escorts called minders. These escorts will accompany tourists from the day they come in to the day they fly out to ensure they are not breaking any rules, such as speaking against the North Korean government.

Everything is controlled by the administration, from TV, radio, and print. Contents for news and broadcast are censored. Internet access is only granted to the ruling elite and even their online activities are strictly monitored.

As for North Koreans, their movements are very limited. They are not allowed to loiter in parks and all their movements and activities must be supported by a valid reason. Sexual relationships between non-married couples are prohibited. The government’s “Dating Police” are tasked to ensure no such relationships occur. North Korea also has a strict fashion code, for example women are not allowed to wear pants and men should cut their hair every 15 days.

Violations are punishable by forced labor for a certain period of time.

9. Iran


Unlike most countries governed by philosophical tenets, Iran’s governance is based on religion and that is the Sharia Law. Prohibited in Iran are actions and propaganda against the government. A slight statement in the negative about how bad the Iranian government is is enough to get you in trouble. Logging on to social media sites like Facebook, Google +, and YouTube also means trouble.

Men cannot sport certain hair styles other than what is prescribed in Islam. Women are not allowed to go out in public unless they adhere to certain dress codes, such as covering their head in hijab and avoiding skinny jeans. Western music such as jazz, rock, and rap are strictly prohibited. Alcoholic beverages for both men and women are highly discouraged.

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8. Syria


Violence has increased in Syria over the years as clashes between the government and the rebel forces continue to mount. To quell anti-government actions, the Syrian regime has resorted to a nationwide communications blackout. Communications through mobile and landline phones and internet access are significantly limited. Foreign news correspondents are banned from entering the country and news is heavily monitored. Syrian journalists who act against the government are tortured or, worse, end up dead.

7. Eritrea


Situated above the Horn of Africa, Eritrea has been ruled by President Isaias Afewerki, who came to power in 1993. The President and his government have full control of the media in the country, with their agencies having total control of the news and who writes the news. Nothing gets published or broadcasted without the approval of the President’s Office. Religion is also controlled. No one is allowed to perform public worship and one has to apply as a member to a certain sect before they can be allowed to practice their faith.

6. Equatorial Guinea


In Equatorial Guinea, people are discouraged from learning how to read and write. There are no bookstores or newsstands in the country. Tourism is also low as foreigners are normally not allowed to enter the country. The government, which is ran by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo since a coup installed him in 1973, controls the TV and radio stations. Foreigners who are allowed to enter Equatorial Guinea are closely monitored and prohibited from filming scenes and conditions that portray poverty.

5. Saudi Arabia


While Saudi Arabia has recently took down their curtains and huddled with the rest of the world, the country is still deeply rooted in laws that stemmed from religion and tradition. Social laws, which mostly apply to women, are stern. For example, women are not allowed to drive or be with a man who is not a relative or go out in public in casual clothes. Internet access is restricted and media outlets are closely watched. Senior editors can get fired and arrested if they allow to publish or broadcast any content that says something negative about the government.

4. Cuba


Home to Cuban cigars and the late Fidel Castro, Cuba is mainly projected as a top holiday destination in the world. But behind its paradise beaches and hip-moving Latin music, Cuba is still a communist country and those who speak out against the government are always in trouble. Internet is screened regularly and writers who post anti-government sentiments will likely face jail time if they get arrested.  Cubans know how to party and they know their alcohol. But playing Reggaeton is a big no-no.

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3. China


China is a booming economy that can take the world by storm. With China being open to other nations, it has projected a very positive image amidst territorial rows with its neighbors. But one should understand that China is still a communist country and that means no one should ever cross the government, ever. Anti-government propaganda is immediately traced and those responsible are silenced. It is a crime to instill Western thoughts and influences in the minds of the Chinese youth. Media is controlled. So is access to the internet. Nobody is allowed to discuss topics that pertain to rebellion, change, reform, and most specifically, the Tiananmen Protests of 1989.

2. Japan


Many believe that the feudal system that once was in place in Japan a long time ago had significant influences on how the modern Japanese government does its business. The hierarchy of authority is prevalent in almost all structures, in the household, school, office, and the workplace. Everybody respects the one who is higher than him.  Japanese companies also adhere to strict working policies and all employees, from the CEO down to the lowly staff, are expected to perform and excel in their designations. Talking about World War II and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is prohibited.

1. Singapore


Singapore may be small, but the government’s firm implementation of their rules and policies on locals and tourists alike are notches higher compared to other countries in this list. Any wrong move will cost someone a fine. Spitting in public has a fine. Smoking in public will get you in serious trouble.  Wearing the wrong dress when going out will land you in jail. And those are just petty violations. One can only imagine how stringent the Singaporean government is when dealing with serious crimes. But this very solid adherence to the rules makes Singapore a world-class economy with standards of living rated higher than most advanced European nations.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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Phill says:

Depends what you mean by strict. In the UK, if I ride my motorbike across a field or wood, I stand a good chance of getting it seized, crushed and prosecuted. All my text, mail and voice calls are monitored. I can't watch TV without a license, or I can be prosecuted. Having certain opinions can land me in prison. In Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc I can do all of the above without fear. Liberal countries are oppressive. Conservative countries generally have freer civil liberties. North Korea is unique, and can't be compared to any other country on the planet.

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Colin says:


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Lerato says:

Spent years In Cuba, the part about reggaeton being a no-no is not factual. Spent many night in clubs and in the streets listening to it,even on radio.the rest you're good.(am just being a pretty complainer )

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Anonymous User says:

Has the person who wrote this been to Singapore and Japan? How does he/she like Singapore and Japan compared to North Korea, Iran, cuba and and the other countries listed here

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Greg c says:

I think the USA should have tougher laws like other countries. Here in the USA innocent men,women and children are dying. People are getting shot,killed and raped. Children have no respect at home or school. Corporal punishment has vanished, the internet and media are gone wild etc....the USA has went "soft". Innocent people dont have a chance. People here talk about the government like a dog causing all kinda turmoil in social media. Michael jackson had a song called "HEAL THE WORLD" but no one was listening. These other countries do not tolerate crime and they send out a fear factor to anyone who disobeys. Its no wonder their crime rates are so low.

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Jay williams says:

Its on the other side of you hehe haha haha hehe

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CH says:

How can you list Japan 2nd, and not South Korea at all? South Korea is strict in all the ways that Japan is, except on a way higher scale. Japan is actually pretty laid back in my opinion. It's more of a consensus culture that emphasizes non-confrontation and politeness, while South Korea really is ultra-hierarchical. The first thing you are asked is how old you are, and even if you are one year younger than someone, you are still "under" them. No exceptions military service. Crazy Christianity. Literally authoritarian in every single way. And for all the people that are defending the U.S., don't be ridiculous. It has the highest incarceration rate. Witch hunts are going on against people not conforming to tribal ideology. Examples of this are the Catholic MAGA boys, sexual assault accusations against everyone. Your choices are either wacko Puritanical Christianity, or authoritarian leftism. Anything else is beaten down. Infractions like urinating in public can result in sex offender registration, something I can't imagine happening anywhere else in the world. The list seems to have been thrown together on someone's personal whim.

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Clive says:

"""In Equatorial Guinea, people are discouraged from learning how to read and write""" yooh very very cruel,, not surprised because the president held office since 1973.... we are not going anywhere as Africans.... UN our last hope for ensuring human freedom and dignity please intervene...Amen

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Karim says:

I went to Saudi Arabia before and most of the stuff is fake. Women are allowed to drive (There was a rule that says that women can't drive but it lassted for about 2 years.), can be with a man that is not a relative, can wear casual clothes. Internet access is not restricted (yet your search history can still be seen by the government, basically like the FBI watching you).

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abdul waheed al zubair says:

Your information is wrong women's are not allowed to drive till now after Ramadan they give licence to womens and internet browser restricted in saudi and tourist also have to were hijab and womes and not walking with strangers.. Admit it iam saudi

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Robert says:

Personally I have a love for Singapore. While I am not big on the petty laws, and there's some pretty goofy ones I must admit and as a lover of liberty I certainly don't admire adopting them here in America, but I think we could take some lessons from them here. On many aspects they have just the right touch of government such as healthcare. While I would just simply like a free market choice, that hybrid system beats ours hands down and so does their housing. There's just some really nice aspects we could learn from I think.

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DEF says:

Yes, the most advanced European nations as well as the most advanced nations in the world don't get the top spots for quality of life. The nations with the highest quality of life (and also the happiest in terms of life satisfaction) are not necessarily the wealthiest nations. Wealthy nations are materialistic, so the drive for success over happiness (or at least the prioritizing of the former) makes people more depressed even though their nations are at the top of the world and most people have more than what they need to live. Instead, the happiest nations and those with the highest quality of life are the "small powers." Those nations aren't top notch when it comes to economy size, but who cares? Those nations aren't as materialistic and the people are happier. For example, compare the quality of life in China versus Germany. Now let's face it, China is now the second richest country in the world, about to become the richest, so therefore it's richer than Germany. But look beyond that idyllic facade at the GDP per capita. The average Chinese in China makes about 8K in US dollars, while the average German in Germany makes about 41K, so China is richer,, but which group of people live better? Germans in this case! It's economy ranking is comparable to the USA, but the average American makes about 56K (I'm talking about all Americans; white, black, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.).Luxembourgians are the richest PEOPLE in the world, on average, making about 103K.

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ABC says:

I've traveled to China before, and I realized it's not strict when it comes to the traffic (don't get me started on that!). Many people, especially the youth, are gaining an increased appreciation of Western culture, and yes, some don't like how Chinese brands make fake products, so they trust Western brands more. Anyways, this is an interesting article, because it shows both the good and bad of strict laws. With strict laws, you've got nations like Singapore, which the world envies, and nations like Equatorial Guinea, where kids aren't even allowed to learn to read and write. Anyways, Singapore would more than satisfy me, but I'd prefer Vienna, Austria. Vienna is less than Singapore when it comes to quality of life, but not that far behind. In fact, they are about the same and yes, I'd choose Vienna, which is less perfect but has less rules!

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Bates says:

Education in Equatorial Guinea is free and compulsory until the age of 14. In 1993, the gross primary enrollment rate was 149.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 83.4 percent. ... It is estimated that about 45 percent of all students complete their primary education.

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DR says:

Seriously... Japan isn't that strict in their laws, neither is Singapore. Tbh NK is worse than all of them... Not the least strict out of them.

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airdefence says:

It is actually true that NK is stricter than the tenth place. Why not include the SOUTH Korea on the list? Throwing trash in random places is illegal, the security cameras all over public restrooms, the fact that the Anime "Blend S" is banned there, the fact that death sentence still exists, the blocking of inappropriate sites, the forcing of SafeSearch...

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In reply to airdefence's comment, poooooooo says:


py says:

Putting Japan on that list certainly makes no sense. As a Westerner, you can go and live there and while not everyone will like you you are unlikely to get arrested for doing anything you'd do in your home country. Oh, sure, the work culture is strict - but if anything that's because labor laws are lax (you wouldn't get away with overworking your workers like that in most European countries certainly), not because they are super strict. There's no "respect your elders" law, it's custom. That's not nearly the same.

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CF says:

I lived in Japan for several years and Jeeeeeezz I love that place. Beautiful, clean, respectful and just about any other positive word. I wonder why not include USA on this list. A free country that allows capital punishment and reserves the right to invade and nuclearly bomb other countries as well? Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

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Steve Moore says:

Remember Pearl Harbor dumbass?

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RailroadHill says:

Sorry. The US is not that strict in their laws. I mean, the US would have some of the most relaxed laws, as you can spit all over the ground, wear any clothes you want, carry guns, etc. What's more, drugs are legal in some states there, believe in any religion you want (they don't even care about blasphemy), and you are allowed to do tons of other things that are illegal in other countries you want. Also, the US is the home to criminals as it has the largest prison population, and you can put gums underneath tables in restaurants (which is gross). To be honest, the US should be on the list of "Free countries". It is the "land of the free", you know.

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cheese says:

Well they were nuked because there emperor refused to accept a peace treaty to end world war two so as a measure to force Japan to surrender the American Government nuked those two citys to send a message that if they continued the war they would not survive

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In reply to cheese's comment, Dennis says:

Not just that, they knew it would be a major bloodbath trying to invade Japan, they estimated around 1 milion more soldiers would die and 2 million more Japanese

JN says:

You are way off base about Japan, and the English in that part of the article is especially awkward. "...are expected to perform and excel in their designations." What does "designations" mean in this sentence? Talking about WWII, Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic boms is certainly allowed. Go to the Peace Park in Hiroshima and try to not talk about these topics. Hierarchy matters more in Japan than in the US. So does customer service. You make it sound much more extreme than it is, though. I've lived and worked in Japan, and my opinions are based on my own experience.

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JK says:

by designations, I assume they refer to jobs

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Vladimir says:

How about the USA? The retina scanners at airports, the TSA groping, the fact that Kinder eggs are illegal, the fact that capital punishment still exists,... I think the USA would top them all.

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Ahmad says:

you may be right to some extent about the situation described about Iran. But it seems that you have exaggerated about the country. freedom of speech and social freedom has increased recently in the country of course the country need time to reach it completely. But here people can quarrel with a police or raise their voice while talking to a police and consider it when you face an American police which you are scared all the time that you may be the victim of police violation even for unimportant issues. In Iran the security forces are sensitive just about the national security issues but you are free and relax in all other issues like political, social and also the mode of dressing. the photo here about Iran does not convey the image of the country fully and if you look at Iranian youth no a days you will face with utmost social freedom

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Katie says:

Don’t even, seriously, the us is a non religious country you can literally carry around a gun and nothing would happen. The us is probably the least strict. Chewing gum is illegal in singapoor. You clearly haven’t travelled and anyway because of the USA’s lack of laws its one of the worst places for gangs, knife crime and gun crimes

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'Murican! F'YEAH says:

I couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of this comment. Assuming it's just a troll joke, it's excellent at pointing out the ridiculousness of the free American citizen's concerns. While we Americans get angry over the small things, there are literally people being shot execution-style for the most minor of offenses in other countries. I could totally throw a hissy fit over how my favorite site won't post NSFW stuff because CAPITALISM (yeah, I'm glaring petulantly at you Tumblr), but I'm not gonna because I know someone somewhere else is having a way worse life than me. I am very grateful I was born into a nation that, should I be stupid and decide to drive drunk one night, I won't be immediately shot and rolled into the nearest ditch for breaking the law. Granted, my country has its issues (lol sooo many issues) but they're pretty minimal compared to nations that won't let me shout "THIS COUNTRY SUCKS!" at the top of my lungs in the middle of a crowded public space. I guess what I'm saying is this: Americans be grateful for what you do have or find something to be grateful for because all that negativity isn't helping anyone, least of all you.

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gary says:

The USA is a free country, and no kinder eggs are not illegal. I live in California and you can spit on the ground were any clothes you want, and so much more.The United States in on the list for the top 10 freest countries.

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RailroadHill says:

What are you even saying? "Retina scanners at airports" - What do you mean? "TSA legal groping" - They don't do this anymore. "Kinder eggs banned" - They have banned kinder eggs only because they kept using them to smuggle small items as drugs and the government had to stop it. "Death sentence still exists" - Sir, not ALL states in the US have the death sentence today. Plus, even for the states that still have the death penalty, it hasn't ever been used since the beginning of the 21st century, and these kinds of punishments are EXTREMELY rare in the US. The US is actually one of the FREE-EST countries in fact. Just like how other people replied, US is never that strict in its laws. The 10 countries listed in this article are WAY stricter.

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gery says:

Are you kidding? USA has some of the most relaxed laws, drugs are legal in some states, the 4th ammendment allows you to do tons of shit that would be punished with jail in other countries, they are assholes regarding foreigners but for their citizens (white citizens) they are really relaxed

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LoLGamer says:

No, they have banned kinder eggs partially because they kept using them to smuggle small items as drugs and the government had to stop it... USA is one of the free-est infact... I think Singapore or North Korea should be number one (I am aware Singapore is), North Korea's Law is ostrict infact that you can die easily by doing omething normal in other place.

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In reply to LoLGamer's comment, Jasmine says:

The USA actually ranks about 40th in regards to freedom.

kameela says:

kinder eggs banned in america?? well chewing gum is banned here. And not to mention the serious punishments we have even on tourists...not sure if anyone remembers that time an american came to singapore and vandalised and recieved a few strokes of the cane as punishment while the american government pleaded singapore to hand the boy back to america

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In reply to kameela's comment, Scott says:

If you were really in Singapore you would know that chewing gum is not banned and you can buy it at any Guardian or Watsons.

Josh says:

If u have any sign of drugs or marijuana on you in Singapore you can be put to the death sentence

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In reply to Josh's comment, Scott says:

Yes, Singapore still has the death sentence, which is draconian and out of touch with the modern world. I've been on 5 continents to around 50 countries. I've been to Singapore many times, and it is the second most rules based country I've been to, but the US is the first. And in Singapore an 18 year old can buy a bear, prostitution is legal, and everywhere you go (Clark Quay, Marina Bay, Orchard Road, Sentosa) everyone is out partying and having fun. But if you leave the US for four weeks or more, you feel all the rules as soon as you come back. I just renewed my drivers license and I had to show my passport, current license, W2, a current utility bill and my car registration to a woman at a desk, a second person looked at all of them again, scanned them, and gave me a temporary paper license until a third group of people can verify the scans. I'm almost 60 and got carded (for alcohol) going into a Dave Matthews concert. I have to have an appointment, go through a metal detector and get my license scanned then get a temporary badge just to enter a skyscraper in Boston. At they airport they told me my daughter, who cannot read or write, couldn't board a plane using a US passport because she hadn't signed the passport. If you have too much cash the police can just take it and you have to prove yourself innocent.

Eric Mason says:

Singapore's geographical size makes it easy for their government to effectively apply their laws and policies compared to other countries in the list. People in Singapore are aware of the laws and are fully aware that the government has the hardware, the technology, and the manpower to enforce it. I really love it because "fear of the law" is not applied, compared to other nations in the article.

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Harry Kyaw Tay Za says:

I live in Singapore. Rules are strict but not that strict.Countries like North Korea are a lot more stricter.

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In reply to Harry Kyaw Tay Za's comment, Heather says:


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