'Power tattoos' spark teen brawling

KALASIN – Police raided the home of a renowned tattooist after reports of several brawls involving his "disciples", who wanted to test their "bullet proof" tattoos, reports said.

Police on Tuesday arrested Boonyong Luang-Jumpol, also known as “Ajarn Ton”, and seized several guns, knives and pornographic CDs from his home in Yanglad district.

Ajarn Ton is a well known astrologer and claims to be a “sorcerer” tattooist. Many believed that people bearing his tattoos are invulnerable to gun shots and cannot be pierced by any knife or sword.

The raid came after several locals in the area complained to the police that teenage brawls in the area have increased in the past several months. The youngsters also gather in large groups, causing trouble and scaring people in the area, police said.

Kalasin police chief Pol Maj-Gen Kanisorn Noi-narth said most of the teenagers involved in the fights claimed to be followers of Ajarn Ton. They said they wanted to try the "power" of their tattoos to see if anyone wielding a weapon can hurt them, he added.

Police said the brawls usually occur in crowded areas, like the local markets or during carnivals.

Pol Maj-Gen Kanisorn said police officers who raided his home were surprised by what they found.

“We expected it to be filled with relics and Buddha statues, but instead we found an arsenal,” he said.

Police confiscated nine guns, 121 bullets, 18 swords and a number of fake guns at Ajarn Ton's home, he said.

Ajarn Ton and his follower, Somchai Khunsuth, were taken into custody and initially charged with possession of weapons without a licence.

Ajarn Ton said he had been in the business for 10 years. Apart from tattoos and telling fortunes, he also offered herbal treatments to villagers.

He admitted that his clients were usually teenagers who cannot afford to pay for the tattoos with money.

“They usually pay me with guns and knives, so I take it,” he said. “I didn’t know that it’s illegal.”

He also claimed that he didn’t know that teenagers like to try out the “power” of his tattoos.

"I always teach them to be responsible” Ajarn Ton claimed.

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