Japanese mystery father: Who is he?

Japanese mystery father: Who is he?

Everyone, especially the Thai police, want to know more about Mitsutoki Shigeta, linked to a so-called "baby factory" in a Bangkok condominium. Here is some of what we know so far.

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A Japanese man reportedly rented rooms in The Niche ID Lat Phrao condominium, left, in Soi Lat Phrao 130 in Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district and hired women to take care of the babies. THANARAK KHUNTON

Here are excerpts from a much longer story which appeared in the newsmaker section of the Bangkok Post this morning.

Who exactly is Mitsutoki Shigeta?

Jitsiree Thongnoi & Dane Halpin

Almost two weeks after a raid on a condominium in Lad Phrao revealed what authorities described as a "baby factory", details remain scant about the 24-year-old Japanese businessman's background and why he wanted to father more than a dozen children to surrogate mothers.

Mr Shigeta has fled the country, boarding a flight to Macau shortly after the raid, and has not been seen since.

He has now been linked to 15 babies born to surrogate mothers in Thailand, and is also believed to have engaged surrogates in India. At least three of the infants born here have already been taken out of the country, their whereabouts unknown.

Police say there's still no evidence to suggest Mr Shigeta was trafficking children, but remain eager to track him down for questioning so they can piece together his motives.

Whatever Mr Shigeta's motives for fathering so many children, it seems money is an unlikely factor. The 24-year-old is rumoured to be the son of Japanese billionaire Yasumitsu Shigeta, founder of mobile phone distribution company Hikari Tsushin Inc.

Mr Yasumitsu was once one of the world's richest men before losing much of his fortune in the dotcom crash. He has since restored at least some of his former US$42 billion wealth, and now sits at No 16 on Japan's rich list.

Surrogacy agents who dealt with Mr Shigeta describe an unusual man who was persistent with his demands for more babies. For the women who were paid hundreds of thousands of baht to carry Mr Shigeta's children, the businessman remained mostly aloof but appeared to be a polite and normal person.

A woman identifying herself only as "Pat" carried one of the nine children recovered from the raid on Mr Shigeta's condominium.

The 21-year-old said she was approached by an agent last year who told her a couple needed a baby and was willing to pay her 19,000 baht a month during her pregnancy as well as a lump-sum payment of 300,000 baht.

Pat said she had no personal dealings with Mr Shigeta until she went for an ultrasound during her second month of pregnancy. The businessman was dressed in casual attire — shorts and T-shirt — but revealed no details about himself or his background.

Pat did not see Mr Shigeta again until she was seven months pregnant. He came to the clinic to arrange some paperwork while she was having a routine check-up. The two did not talk.

Pat gave birth to a baby boy in August last year. Mr Shigeta accompanied her during the labour, and afterwards took her to the Lad Phrao condo. She stayed there with the babies for the next four days, but has not seen the children, or Mr Shigeta, since.

Pat seemed wary about offering information when being contacted on the phone. She told Bangkok Post Sunday only briefly about Mr Shigeta’s character.

“He is very normal," she said. "I wouldn't say he’s mean or kind. He’s just like a regular person.”

You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/427186/japanese-mystery-man-leaves-a-tangled-trail-in-surrogacy-case. And for our previous coverage of this story, see here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/425502/surrogate-update-thurs-warnings-issued-a-year-ago

Learn from listening

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  • accompanied (verb): with someone else going with you - ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
  • aloof (adj): not friendly or interested in other people - ห่าง, ห่างเหิน,โดดเดี่ยว, เย็นชา,ไม่สนใจ
  • approach: to speak to somebody about something, especially to ask them for something or to offer to do something - เข้าหา
  • attire (noun): clothes - เครื่องแต่งกาย, เครื่องแต่งตัว
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • background: information about some person or subject that helps you better understand them and understand current events - ประวัติ
  • billionaire: having more than a billion pounds, dollars (or a billion baht in Thailand) - คนที่รวยมากๆ มีทรัพย์สินพันล้านดอลล่าร์
  • briefly: for a short time - ชั่วครู่, สั้นๆ, ในเวลาสั้นๆ
  • casual: relaxed and informal - ตามอารมณ์,ไม่เป็นทางการ,ธรรมดา
  • character: all the qualities and features that make a person different from others - บุคลิก, ลักษณะนิสัย
  • couple: two people who are married or are involved in a romantic relationship - คุ่รัก
  • dealings: business activities; the relations that you have with somebody in business - กิจการค้า
  • demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
  • details: small facts or pieces of information relating to a situation - รายละเอียด
  • eager: wanting to do or get something very much or enthusiastic about something that will happen - กระตือรือร้น
  • engage: to hire someone to work for you - ว่าจ้าง
  • evidence: facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน
  • factor: a fact or situation which influences the result of something - ปัจจัย
  • flee (past form: fled) (verb): to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger or consequences - หนี
  • fortune: a large amount of money - เงินมากมาย
  • founder (noun): a person who establishes an institution, business, or organisation - ผู้ก่อตั้ง
  • hire: to pay someone to work for you - จ้าง
  • identify: to specify who someone is - ระบุชื่อ
  • infant: a baby or a very young child - ทารก, เด็กอ่อน
  • kind: caring about others; gentle, friendly and generous - ใจดี, ใจบุญ
  • labour (noun): the period of time or the process of giving birth to a baby - กระบวนการในการคลอดบุตร (โดยเฉพาะการหดตัวของกล้ามเนื้อ)
  • linked: connected - เชื่อมโยง
  • lump sum (noun): an amount of money that is paid at one time and not on separate occasions - เงินก้อน
  • mean: angry and violent; cruel, or unkind - ใจร้าย, โหดร้าย
  • motive: a reason for doing something - แรงจูงใจ
  • normal (adj.): typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
  • persistent: determined to do something despite difficulties; continuing for a long period of time without interruption, or repeated frequently, especially in a way that is annoying and cannot be stopped - ดื้อ, อย่างต่อเนื่อง, เรื่อยไป, ติดต่อกัน, ตลอดเวลา
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • pregnancy: the state of being pregnant, having a baby developing inside - การตั้งท้อง
  • pregnant: having a baby developing inside the body - ท้อง ตั้งครรภ์
  • raid (noun): using force or legal authority to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - การเข้าตรวจค้น
  • regular (adj): normal; following a pattern, especially with the same time and space in between each thing and the next - ปกติ, เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
  • rent: to pay money for the use of something for a period of time - เช่า
  • reportedly: as reported (often used for showing that you are not certain that something you are reporting is true) - ตามที่รายงาน
  • restore: to bring somebody/something back to a former condition, place or position - กลับคืน, กลับมารับตำแหน่ง
  • reveal: to show something that was covered, hidden or not known - เปิดเผย ทำให้ปรากฎ
  • routine: ordinary and not interesting or special; usual and not done for any special reason - ตามปกติ
  • rumoured: to be reported as a rumour (information that may or may not be true) - ปล่อยข่าวลือ,เล่าลือ,ซุบซิบ
  • scant (adj): hardly any; not very much and not as much as there should be - มีน้อย, เกือบไม่มี, ขาดแคลน
  • surrogacy (noun): when a woman has a baby for another couple, usually, but not always, a woman and man - การตั้งครรภ์แทน,การอุ้มบุญ
  • surrogate mother (noun): a woman who has a baby for another woman and couple, either for money for free - แม่อุ้มบุญ; มารดาที่รับตั้งครรภ์แทน
  • traffick: to obtain and sell things illegally, especially illegal drugs - ค้าขายยาเสพย์ติดหรือมนุษย์
  • ultrasound: sound that is higher than humans can hear; a process that produces an image of what is inside something - คลื่นเหนือเสียง, คลื่นเสียงที่มีความถี่มากกว่า 20,000 เฮิรตซ์
  • unlikely: not expected to happen; probably won’t happen - ที่ไม่น่าจะเกิดขึ้น
  • wary: careful or nervous about someone or something because you think they might cause a problem - ระมัดระวัง
  • wealth: a large amount of money, property, etc. that a person or country owns - ความมั่งคั่ง
  • whereabouts: where someone is - ที่อยู่,สถานที่,ตำแหน่งที่

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