A couple in eastern China have won a lawsuit against a tattoo parlour after their teenage son was suspended from school for having too many tattoos, Chinese media reported.
A court in Jiangshan, Zhejiang province, ordered the parlour to pay over 20,000 yuan (S$3,960) in compensation on the grounds that the student was only 13 when he got the tattoos and that his parents had opposed the step, the Qianjiang Evening News reported over the weekend.
Quoting the court's judge, Xu Gencai, the report said the boy's school asked him in September 2017 to remove the tattoos before he can return as he would have "a major impact on the appearance of the school".
His parents sued the parlour, claiming that it had infringed the minor's rights.
Revealing details of the case - which was heard in March last year - Xu urged lawmakers to include tattoo parlours in China's Law on the Protection of Minors, which bans under-18s from drinking or smoking.
The boy, whose name was not disclosed, got his first tattoos in 2016, covering his upper body and arms with symbols including dragons and demon faces.
His father, also surnamed Xu, beat him several times in the hope of preventing him from getting more, but the boy said "the more they beat me, the more tattoos I want".
The school had ordered him to remove all of the tattoos, or if not technically possible, at least those that he could not be covered by clothing.
It cost the boy just 1,000 yuan to get all the tattoos but the cost to remove all of them may cost more than 1 million yuan.
The parlour was ordered to return the 1,000 yuan the boy paid for the tattoos, pay 5,000 yuan for his medical fees, and 15,000 yuan in compensation for mental "loss".
Tattoos have remained a controversial issue in China, with some arguing that they are simply a personal hobby but others associate them with criminals and gangsters.
Last year a Communist Party drive to clean up society saw many police forces across the country being sent a list that warned them to look out for people with animal tattoos or "exaggerated" gold and silver jewellery, which were "typical of black evil forces".
Members of the national football team were also reportedly ordered to cover their tattoos on the pitch.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.