17 Countries With The Strictest Laws

Each country has its own strategy and law enforcement habits to regulate the people living there, but some of these “rules” are a lot more than just that. The following countries enforce some of the strictest rules upon their locals and visitors, giving them a notorious reputation regarding crime and punishment acts of discipline. But when does discipline become pure tyranny? Check out some of these stern laws and see for yourself.


North Korea

It makes complete sense that the only country who is still purely communist through and through would earn itself a spot on this list. With a government that literally keeps an eye on your every move, it’s hard to grant the public any sense of freedom in North Korea. North Koreans are forced to follow strict rules such as getting a haircut every 2 weeks, no access to computers, never littering in any area, and most importantly they are never allowed to speak poorly of the North Korean government. All the information they consume is created by the government. But locals aren’t the only ones who have it hard, tourists from around the world who are allowed to enter are actually escorted by a government official for their entire visit. Talk about no privacy!




Iran has some of the strictest laws in the world because it is a religious Muslim country that bases its legal code on something called the Sharia Law, a framework that Muslims must adhere to in order to avoid consequences. The Sharia Law is influenced by many different religious text, but ultimate applies very strict rules dictating how men and women should live their lives – from the clothes they were, to the things they say, the music they listen to, and the relationships they conduct. Whoever is caught breaking the Sharia Law is in serious trouble.




As a country that has been in a serious war for many years now, there is no safe place left in Syria. The people are living in constant chaos and fear for their lives. As a way to try and control the situation, the Syrian government has almost completely banned the use of technology and social media. Phone and computers are very rare to find, and all publications are approved by the government first. When you don’t let foreign journalists into your country, the outside world is unable to get an unbiased glimpse into the reality behind the Syrian people, leaving them stuck living in a country with terribly tough laws. If you speak badly about the Syrian government, you will most likely end up tortured, or even worse, killed.



Equatorial Guinea

The reason the poverty is so high in Equatorial Guinea is because the people who live there are not offered any opportunity to live life a different way. The government publicly discourages the people from learning to read and write, in efforts that the less they will be able to known about the truth, the better. You will rarely find any approval to let tourists in, and even when they do approve, they are being watched every second. It may not even make a difference that the government own the TV and radio stations because people are so poor they can’t afford either one of them.




Can you imagine living in a country where it was legally prohibited to chew gum? That’s right, no chewing gum, no littering, no smoking, and definitely no spitting on the side walk. Do any of these actions and you will like end up in jail as a bare minimum punishment. Ending our list with one of the strictest law enforcing countries, you have to walk on eggshells if you plan to live in Singapore. If the government reacts this way to those actions, you can probably imagine how they would handle violations of serious crimes. Having said that, some people believe that the strict laws are what led Singapore to become a country with some of the best calibers of living.



The African country of Eritrea is very strictly monitored by the Eritrean government that has been under the same rule since 1993. All media publications are entirely controlled and censored by the government. Asides from media, religion is also a very strictly regulated aspect of the country, with rules of practice and even an application process to become a member of a religious sect. With rules like these, it is common to find many locals seeking escape and asylum in other countries.




Any country that administers punishments of lashes, hangings, and decapitations is a country that has severely strict laws causing the people living in it to live in constant doubt and uncertainty. Did you know that if you so much as keep a dog as a personal house pet, you will be forced to undergo a public lashing and being struck over 70 times. Any practices that go against the Muslim religion and teaching of the Quran will be condemned and will face horrific consequences.




It’s almost like this country is disguising itself as something it is unfortunately not. What most people know about Cuba revolves around holidays in the sun, good music, and good times. In reality, the country is still considered Communist, and the local Cubans who live there are forced to adhere to grim laws constantly. Anybody who speaks against the government can be immediately jailed. Very few people have internet access, and the ones that do are so closely monitored there is virtually zero online privacy in this country. Living in ongoing fear of breaking any of this laws is a true tragedy.




Another country that paints a completely different picture to the outside world than to the people living in it. It’s safe to say that the strict internet access laws and constant disapproval of any Western ways of thinking are not what attracts the millions of tourists every year. What people don’t realize is that the country is still under Communist rule, and anyone who speaks against the norm will be immediately punished and tortured. There is no messing with the Chinese government, if you are caught even talking about something related to rebellion, you better start running and fast!



Saudi Arabia

While Saudi Arabia can be seen to have come a long way since its old ways, the laws in that country are still so stern and forbidding that it remains as a country with one of the most backwards view on women rights. Women are not allowed to do so many things such as drive, be seen in public with a man that is not family, and wear anything but the appropriate clothings based on the Muslim faith. There is very little freedom because everything is closely watched by the government. Worst of all, there are serious consequences for anyone who breaks any of these unrelenting religious laws.

Saudi Arab



It’s a bit ironic that that the number one source of foreign economic earnings is the same thing the country applied the strictest rules to; drugs. The laws about drugs are so strict in Morocco, if you’re caught even associating with someone who possessed any illegal substance, regardless of the fact you knew about it or not, you can face up to ten long years in jail. Despite their benefits from the drug industry, they are really not joking around when it comes to punishment.



Japan has some of the strictest laws in the sense that it is all about respect. If you lack respect for the person who is hierarchically above you, you can be in serious trouble. But perhaps these strict laws lead the people to actually be more productive and execute their tasks to the best of their ability, making them one of the industry leaders in the business world. Either way, there are many strict rules Japanese locals must adhere to if they want to avoid the harsh consequences. And don’t think about even uttering a sentence about World War II, or you’ll be jailed!



An African country whose government forces a large portion of residents to live on about a dollar per day, making it inevitably identified as slavery. The Muslim religion serves as a basis for the strict rules that Mauritania enforces upon its residents, but some human rights issues can seriously cross lines you thought unimaginable. Whether it’s child labor policies or women rights, there are never ending controversies regarding Mauritania’s strict law enforcement. The country certainly has a long way to go on the road to a less strict and brutal rule.




The Vietnamese likes to sugar coat their very strict drug trafficking laws by claiming that anyone who violates a law involving drug use will be sent to a “rehabilitation” center immediately. Apparently they have a very loose interpretation of what the word rehabilitation really means. These centers are the last place a drug addict can rehabilitate, instead they are used to torture, beat up, and force people to do hard labor as a consequence for their bad behavior. The only hope is that a place as cruel and severe as this will be incentive enough to get Vietnamese locals to avoid using drugs altogether.

United Arab Emirates

It is typically very easy for wealthy people who are floating in pools of cash to get caught up in addictive drug use. As rich and savvy as the UAE is, especially Dubai, you should never get caught with possession of any drugs at all, ever. The UAE is extremely strict when it comes to drug use, and is more than ready to use capital punishment for those who violate those strict drug laws. Multi-millionaires living here just need to find other areas to spend their money on if they want to avoid being severely punished.



Another country that mean serious business when considering punishments for drug usage law violations. Once again, if you are a parent of a child who is using drugs, and don’t report your own kid to the police, you as a parent could face a serious sentencing too. Tourists and locals are both warned alike about the tough punishments towards drug use, going out of their way to make sure everyone knows the deadly consequence. Whether this actually helps reduce drug use is still in question.




A country that shares similar views as its neighbor, Singapore, Malaysia also implement very strict rules on the public. All media is controlled by the government, but some of their strictest rules revolves around drug use and drug trafficking. It does not take a large amount of drug possession to have the government consider you as trafficking. If you surpass the minimum possession amount, you will be sentenced to death undoubtedly with no way out of it. If they catch you with any possession whatsoever, you will face a hard time in prison too.