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surrogacy scandal

DNA tests show 9 babies fathered by same man

Japanese suspect still at large; care of found infants now top priority

The nine infants discovered in a police raid last week at a Bangkok condominium in connection with unauthorised surrogacy were fathered by the same man.

However, a DNA link between them and a Japanese billionaire has yet to be found, assistant national police chief Pol Lt General Jongjate Aojanepong said yesterday. The suspect is still at large.

Fifteen infants are registered as children of Mitsutoki Shigeta, 24, a Japanese businessman, he said.

Four of them, two of whom are twins, have departed the Kingdom holding Thai passports. Of the nine found at the condominium on Soi Lat Phrao 130, six are boys, Jongjate said, adding that further DNA verification was pending to establish who their mothers are and who fathered them.

A police source said later that there were 11 surrogate mothers for the 15 infants, who were delivered at nine hospitals.

They include twins just discovered at a Bangkok hospital where they had recently been delivered, while another infant has been discovered who is possibly a 16th child fathered by Shigeta, through surrogacy by a Thai woman identified merely as "Phaithoon", the source said.

Shigeta left Thailand last week when a second much-heralded surrogacy furore surrounding him was at its height, making it currently impossible to obtain his DNA for verification and paternal checks.

Immigration Police yesterday showed the past four years' travel records for Shigeta. He has entered and left Thailand in a total of 40 trips since 2010, and was accompanied on three of the departures with a total of four children of unknown names and ages.

He was accompanied by one child on May 9, 2013, by one child on March 25 this year, and by two children last Wednesday, according to Immigration Police records.

He last entered Thailand on August 1, with a female with the same surname. The woman left Thailand on August 5 for Phnom Penh, followed by Shigeta for Macau two days later.

This information contradicts earlier details about him having left the country with two children one day earlier.

Some have Caucasian features

Jongjate said some of the nine babies found during last week's raid had Caucasian features, which was the same information given recently by former cabinet minister Paveena Hongsakul, who led the raid at the condominium.

This could mean that some of their surrogate mothers are Western women hired by Shigeta, while the police source did not give details of whether the potential 11 mothers included any Westerners.

Deputy national police chief Pol General Aek Angsananont said the priority now was to protect the 15 babies, and the nine discovered at the condominium were currently in the custody of a government home for children. He described the surrogacy involving Shigeta as an "activity breeding a large number of children without love and bonding, which may lead to damage to society".

Jongjate said he would rather call what had gone on "the manufacture of babies" than surrogacy, and vowed that police would find out why the father in question would need a large number of babies through such a method, instead of marrying a woman and naturally having children with her.

"This is certainly not normal. There must be something hidden behind this," he added.


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