No evidence that tattoos lead individuals towards a life of crime: Shanmugam

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam added that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) does not see a need to regulate the tattoo industry for now. (PHOTOS: Getty Creative / MCI)

SINGAPORE — There is no data to suggest that tattoos cause people to indulge in criminal behaviour, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

“While there may be others who do so to show their affiliation to unlawful gangs, police have not observed any evidence to suggest that body tattoos lead individuals towards a life of crime,” he said on Monday (8 July) in a written reply to a parliamentary question filed by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah.

Noting that people may tattoo themselves for reasons such as “beauty and fashion”, Shanmugam added that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) does not see a need to regulate the tattoo industry for now.

Dr Lee had asked if the MHA had studied the number of minors tattooing their bodies over the past three years and whether minors require the consent of a parent or guardian before getting a tattoo.

MHA does not track the number of minors who tattoo themselves, Shanmugam said. It is not an offence for minors to get tattoos, nor are they required to seek parental consent before getting one, he added.

Under the Women’s Charter, a minor is defined as a person under the age of 21 who is not married or a widower or widow.

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