BANGKOK: Thai police said they have questioned five women who were paid up to US$12,500 (RM39,502) each by a Japanese man known to them as “Jack” to act as surrogate mothers.
The baffling case, which emerged after nine babies were found with nannies in a Bangkok condominium, has triggered a human trafficking probe and intensified the focus on the kingdom’s murky surrogacy industry.
The alleged father, who is reported by Japanese media to be the son of an IT millionaire, has left Thailand but last week voluntarily sent a DNA sample to try to clear his name.
The tests revealed he is the biological father of at least 15 babies born to surrogates in the kingdom, although his motives remain unclear.
“We have already questioned five surrogate mothers – there are six left to question,” Police Colonel Decha Promsuwan who is leading the investigation said.
“They said they went through agencies... they wanted to do it because they could earn money, each of them was paid 300,000-400,000 baht (RM29,389-RM39,502).”
Police have contacted their Japanese counterparts to learn more about the alleged father who was known to the surrogates as “Jack”, Decha added.
Thailand’s shadowy commercial surrogacy industry was first thrust into the limelight following recent accusations that an Australian couple abandoned a baby born with Down’s syndrome, but took his healthy twin sister.
The couple have denied deliberately leaving the boy, called Gammy, with the surrogate mother, who was paid around US$15,000 (RM47,403) to carry the twins.
Paid surrogacy is officially banned by the Thai Medical Council and authorities have since shuttered several IVF clinics pending a new law to tighten loopholes. — AFP