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DNA tests show 9 babies fathered by same man

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DNA tests show 9 babies fathered by same man | The Thaiger

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DNA tests show 9 babies fathered by same man
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: 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.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Property

“No stimulus for property sector” – Thai finance minister

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“No stimulus for property sector” – Thai finance minister | The Thaiger

The Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told a seminar in Bangkok yesterday that the government’s stimulus packages were for the ‘grass roots economy’ and the property sector can cope on its own, without any government assistance.

He was speaking at a property seminar hosted by the Krungthep Turakit newspaper yesterday. He said that that the real estate sector could readily adjust to the Bank of Thailand’s loan-to-value (LTV) criteria on mortgage loans that took effect last April.

“The government’s latest economic stimulus packages are aimed at helping revive the grassroots economy, and that should in turn benefit to the property sector.”

The 316 billion baht stimulus package approved by the Cabinet on August 20 focuses on cash handouts for low-income earners and domestic travellers and extends soft loans to drought-afflicted farmers.

The upbeat finance minister also said that, once the US-China trade war is sorted out, the Thai economy will expand at a faster rate.

“The Thai economy continues to expand.”

“Regardless of what happens with the US-China trade talks, GDP growth will reach 3%, as forecast by the National Economic and Social Development Council.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Thai government to consider bringing forward plastics ban

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Thai government to consider bringing forward plastics ban | The Thaiger

That’s a ban on of single-use plastic bags, styrofoam (polystyrene) boxes, plastic straws and single-use plastic cups

In a surprise announcement, the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says they’re considering bringing forward, by 1-2 years, a complete ban on the use of the key plastic polluters.

Varawut Silpa-archa, the Natural Resources and Environment Minister, says the department’s proposal, approved by Cabinet in April this year, to phase out the four types of plastic products by the year 2022, was too slow and should be brought forward.

Mr. Parkpoom Witharntirawat, a leader of an environment network, says that plastic waste is now having a widespread and profound impact on the environment and the situation will get worse if Thailand waits until 2022 to introduce the ban.

“We should move faster toward a plastic free society in Thailand. Every modern shop, shopping mall or other activity must stop using and distributing so much plastic.”

Minister Varawut says that the government is cooperating with the private sector to try to reduce the amount of trash, including plastic waste, being washed into seas around Thailand by installing netting in the estuaries of several rivers to trap the trash.

“This does nothing to address the root of the problem, but it’s a short-term measure which can help mitigate the problem of plastic waste getting into the oceans.”

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Thailand

Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019

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Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019 | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has downgraded the forecast for foreign arrivals this year to a range of 39-39.8 million. This is down from the upbeat projections at the start of the year that 40.2 million tourists would arrive in the Land of Smiles.

Thai tourism for the first half of 2019 grew only 1.4%, less than expected, prompting the new Minister to admit that the target of over 40 million would not be met.

Although some netizens have characterised the slight reduction in tourist arrivals, especially in some of the traditional ‘hot spots’, and specifically in the months of April and May, to a ‘collapse’ or major reversal of fortune for Thai tourism, the numbers still show an upward trajectory for the year.

The Thailand Tourism Intelligence Centre says 23.1 million foreign tourists visited the Kingdom between January and the end of August this year, up nearly 2% compared to the same period last year. The big mover is Indian tourists, up 24% year on year.

The minister, whose proposal to provide incentive to Chinese and Indian tourists with visa-free entry, says he will continue to chat about about the “security issues” raised with related state agencies.

His proposal, rebuffed last week by foreign minister Don Pramudwinai and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, was rejected at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. But the Cabinet did extend the current 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee waiver to the end of April next year.

Apart from India and China, the following countries are also on the list of visa-on-arrival fee waivers – Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.

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