PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 February, 2007, 12:00am

You Can Get Arrested for That

by Rich Smith


In the US state of Georgia, it is illegal to tie your giraffe to a telephone pole. In Arizona, if you want to protect yourself from an intruder, you can use only the same weapon as the trespasser wields. 'I pitied the man who decided to leave a nine-iron under his bed for protection, only to find that his would-be burglar chose to break in with a putter,' writes Rich Smith.

In this comedic memoir the author attempts to break as many stupid laws as possible, choosing 25 still theoretically current in the 'Land of the Free'. With his friend Luke Bateman in tow, Smith covers everywhere from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, and the results are good - especially considering Smith was at the time a humble journalism undergraduate student from Cornwall in southwest England.

Neatly, his birthplace lands him and Bateman in the biggest scrape of the journey. On the fringes of Chicago, three cops in bulletproof vests pull the pair over. 'Show me your hands!' an officer yells at Bateman. Only when they reveal they are English, and produce a Chicago sightseeing guide, is the tension diffused. Later, at an Irish bar, Smith and Bateman discover the real reason the police stopped them: the Cornish flag displayed proudly in their rear window. 'Our Cornish flag, a white cross on a black background, was similar to the emblem of the Black Gangster Disciples, one of the biggest and most violent gangs in Chicago,' reveals Smith. The realisation sums up and compounds the absurdity of this unusually daring, droll travel tale.

You Can Get Arrested for That is available at for HK$109.