PHUKET: Two Thai surrogate mothers told police yesterday they were instructed to lie to the courts during adoption hearings – to say that their babies were conceived during affairs with the Japanese man at the heart of a surrogacy scandal.
The unnamed women said they testified to the courts that they could not keep the babies as they were already married, and that they wanted to give them to Japanese father Mitsutoki Shigeta, who they believed could afford to take care of the children, based on his claim that he owned a finance company in Japan.
The saga has now developed further complications about unlawfulness in terms of adoptions – at least the two approved by the courts, and the women may face perjury and contempt of court charges now that it is publicly known because of their confession that they gave false testimony. This is aside from moral and legal concerns about surrogacy.
A former judge commented that cases related to these two adoptions could be reopened, which would mean the children would need to be brought into state custody. Meanwhile, requests for future adoptions, for either general cases or surrogacy cases, could become more difficult as judges tend not to believe testimonies by all parties involved.
The two surrogate mothers have given statements to Lumpini police, whose jurisdiction covers the All IVF clinic in central Bangkok, where the impregnation of unauthorised surrogate mothers was conducted for Shigeta.
The two women told police about people close to Shigeta advising them to lie to the judges, to say that he accidentally got them pregnant during secret affairs.
Nok (not her real name) said her husband did not get angry when he learnt about the pregnancy, but told her to hand the baby to Shigeta.
The other woman, Pla, said her husband was aware of her bearing another man’s baby through a surrogacy contract. Both women named Dr Pisit Tantiwatthanakul as the doctor who performed the planting of the fertilised cell.
Quoting her own statement given to Lumpini police, Nok said that an agent known as Noina, a Thai-Indian woman, made an offer in mid-2012 to pay her Bt400,000 for a deal – to help a family the agent said was having difficulty having a child.
Nok said Noina never received her phone calls after she handed the baby to her, as she was concerned about its welfare or even its whereabouts. “I feel attached to the child, and I am ready to take care of it, if it is not well raised and taken care of,” she added.
Pla had twins, one boy and one girl, through surrogacy who had been kept at a condominium in Lat Phrao area before a recent raid by a team of policemen led by former minister Pavena Hongsakul.
Pla said the court set November 12 for another hearing.
There are four surrogate mothers including Nok and Pla, already giving statements to Lumpini police, out of a total of 11 that bore children to Shigeta.
Pol Colonel Decha Phromsuwan, a special interrogator, said Dr Phisit may meet with police on September 20 at 8pm, and police are compiling statements of 11 surrogate mothers while awaiting statements from Shigeta, whom he said was ready to meet Thai police in Japan.
— Phuket Gazette Editors
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