Japanese father to nine babies may have violated child protection laws

Human trafficking suspected in Thai nine-baby discovery


A Thai lawyer claimed Wednesday that nine babies found in suspicious circumstances at a Bangkok condo on Tuesday are all “surrogate babies whose father is a rich Japanese businessman.”

The lawyer, Ratprathan Tulathorn, said he represents the father of the babies and insisted the Japanese man, whom he declined to identify, loves them and spends thousands of dollars a month to ensure that they are well cared for.

But one of the baby sitters at the condo told police that a 27-year-old Japanese woman, described as the businessman’s secretary, had a plan to take one of the babies abroad, raising police suspicion that cross-border human trafficking may be behind the entire facade, according to sources close to the matter.

Police are investigating the case as a possible violation of child protection laws, though the children were in good health and each had a personal nanny when they were found.

The Japanese woman was present at the condo, as was a pregnant Thai woman who claimed to be a surrogate mother.

Police said there were no birth certificates for the children and their names were also unknown. A child welfare facility that is now taking care of them pending DNA tests to verify the lawyer’s account said the six boys and three girls appear to be aged between 1 month and 2 years.

The lawyer, who claimed to not know who their mothers are, said the father is very fond of his surrogate children and always visits them when he stays in Thailand.

“He bought properties including bonds and saving insurance under the name of each kid, which show how he loves them. If he was involved with human trafficking or seeing them as objects, he wouldn’t invest such big money in them,” the lawyer said.Ratprathan said the father was upset to hear his children were taken away and placed in state care, but he has since given cash to the facility in question to cover expenses for their care. “This is the best thing he can do for his babies so far,” he said.

Police said Thailand has no particular law against surrogacy. But the Medical Council of Thailand prohibits commercial surrogacy or the use of surrogate mothers unrelated to the genetic parents, and any doctors found breaching its regulations could have their medical license revoked.

Surrogacy has become a hot issue in Thailand in the wake of media reports about a Thai woman who claimed she was paid by an Australian couple to have their child, but they took home only one baby, a girl, when she had twins, leaving behind a baby with Down’s Syndrome.

The couple have since denied any knowledge of the baby boy’s existence.