Malaysia valentines
A Muslim woman reads a pamphlet that says "Beware the trap of Valentine's Day." Reuters

Being single on Valentine's Day is tough, but it's probably better than being in a relationship in Malaysia.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, police in the Malaysian city of Petaling Jaya raided a number of hotels and arrested more at least five couples for being alone with a member of the opposite sex.

The country's strict Muslim authorities claim that the holiday is synonymous with vice activities, and any unlawful activities -- such as open intimacy -- could lead to up to two years in jail and fines of $1000.

The hotel raids started 12:30 a.m. local time Tuesday morning and ran until about 4 a.m., and police also targeted public parks to break up any lovers' romantic strolls, according to reports.

The government crackdown on the holiday started in 2005. This year, Malaysia's Muslims were given heart-shaped pamphlets with sinister-looking writing on it that read Mind the Valentine's Day Trap.

While Malaysia simply cracked down on celebrants, Uzbekistan took its dislike for Valentine's day one step further, cancelling the holiday altogether. A number of concerts and events were taken off the schedule, and in place of Valentine's Day, the government has called for a celebration of the first Moghul emperor, Babur.

The education ministry's Department for Enlightenment and Promoting Values decreed not to celebrate holidays that are alien to our culture and instead promote Babur's birthday, the BBC reported.

Babur was born in modern day Uzbekistan and is the father of the great Mongol ruler Genghis Khan. He is a national hero in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

While the celebration of Valentine's Day is a relatively new practice in Uzbekistan, the government has still told media outlets to avoid content related to the holiday.


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that 80 people were arrested.