A reformed gangster and ex-convict wants to send a strong message to young people who are already in a gang or want to join one.

“Don’t steal or rob. Don’t do it.”

As a former gangster himself, Vincent Tan sports a full bodied tattoo, with tattoos even on his forehead. He says he joined a gang when he was younger to seek help from other members of the gang.

But he realized that he was naive.

“When you have problems, they (your gang members) can’t help you. Only your family can.”

In an interview with local journalist Sujimy Mohamad, he told Mr Sujimy about his life now that he has stopped being part of a gang.

“I’m trying to make amends. I do odd jobs to feed myself. So long I get to eat and survive, I’m okay with that.”

He wants the youth to know that Singapore is very different from the Singapore of his time.

“You want to join gang? Not in Singapore. Really, brother,” he said.

“You can’t do it today. Over here, it’s really important. Do wrong and you’re done. CID (Criminal Investigation Department) will come and you’re done.”

He now regrets the time wasted in prison, and admits that his tattoos make it extremely hard for him to find a job. He adds that he has stopped mixing with his former gang members and goes to church.

His one advice for the young people of Singapore: “Don’t be a gangster. Nobody can help you. The people at home can help..”

“When you join gangsters, you will be brain dead,” he said.

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