8 sought in wombs-for-hire case

PHTOT: Police escort suspects in Thurday's woms-for-hire-arrests - Chiang Rai Times

Police are seeking arrest warrants for eight new suspects: two Chinese nationals and six Thais, in an illegal cross-border surrogacy ring busted on Thursday.

“Two Chinese suspects were hired to take surrogate mothers to give birth in another country, while the Thai suspects brokered surrogacy and arranged travel documents for the surrogate mothers.”

Nine suspects, six Thais and three Chinese nationals, were arrested in joint raids carried out in metropolitan Bangkok and vicinity. The raids came after police learned a gang of Chinese nationals was hiring Thai women as surrogate mothers. The operation is believed to have begun in 2012.

The three Chinese suspects denied any wrongdoing and insisted they were in Thailand for a “test tube baby service.”

Police discovered the surrogacy syndicate was operated by Chinese nationals who hired Thai brokers to lure Thai women for 300,000-450,000 baht per pregnancy.

The surrogate mothers were reportedly sent to neighbouring countries for “assisted reproductive treatment” and returned to Thailand where they stayed until delivery. In some cases, they were sent to China, where they remained until giving birth.

Another suspect — a Chinese national who was believed to be involved in the same surrogacy gang, was arrested on April 30 last year and is being detained in an undisclosed foreign country. Thai police insist they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect for involvement in the gang.

The three Thais were charged colluding with a transnational criminal organisation, arranging illegal commercial surrogacy and advertising an illegal surrogacy service.

The seven surrogate mothers arrested on Thursday have yet to be charged and are currently under the care of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. Some will likely be treated as witnesses in the ongoing investigation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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