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Men running illegal tattoo shop in Dubai arrested

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

The tattoo artists would advertise their services on social media, quoting between Dh600 and Dh1,500 for a tattoo.

A tattoo artist inks a portrait of Martin Luther King on a client. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

A tattoo artist has been arrested for running an illegal parlor in Dubai.

The man — an Arab national — was advertising his services through an Instagram account, quoting between Dh600 and Dh1,500 for a tattoo.

“Pictures of tattoo drawings were posted on his Instagram page,” said Brig Salem Al Rumaithi, director of the general department of criminal investigation at Dubai Police.

“Some of the drawings posted on his page show pictures of unaccepted behavior in our culture and traditions,” he said, adding that the man was seemingly targeting teenage clients.

An undercover policeman contacted the tattoo artist and scheduled an appointment at the man’s flat in Dubai International City.

Police raided the flat and arrested the man, seizing needles and other tools used for tattooing.

The man was referred to the public prosecution to face legal action.

Col Omar bin Hamad, an official at the department of anti-economic crimes, said another two suspects carrying illegal tattoos were also arrested in Dubai.

The two Asian men had also been promoting their trade on social media and would set up appointments and their clients’ apartments.

“Two Asian tattooists have been arrested for promoting their business on social media platforms. People would reach out to them on social media platforms, and the suspects would go to their customer’s apartments,” said Colonel bin Hamad.

While getting a tattoo is not legally penalized in the UAE, it is forbidden in Islam by a Fatwa issued by the Official Fatwa Centre at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments. It is considered a form of self-injury.

Getting a tattoo done by an unlicensed tattoo artist is also illegal due to the health risks it poses to public health. Using incorrectly sanitized tools can cause severe health problems, including hepatitis C and infection.

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