Warrants out for new suspects

Warrants out for new suspects

Police are about to issue arrest warrants for more suspects involved with an illegal transnational commercial surrogacy ring busted last week, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) said on Monday.

ATPD chief, Pol Maj Gen Worawat Watnakornbancha, said four more people -- three Thai nationals and a foreigner -- were named suspects after a number of state agencies launched a joint probe into the dealings of the transnational crime syndicate.

The Thai nationals acted as brokers, while the other suspect was a foreigner who took Thai surrogate mothers abroad to deliver the babies, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Worawat said that after confirming an "order" from a foreign customer overseas, the surrogate mothers were taken to hospitals and clinics to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF). At least four hospitals and five health clinics were implicated in the case, he added.

Nalina Tantiniramai, director of the Bureau of Sanatorium and Healing Arts, meanwhile, said several Thai medical doctors are allegedly involved with these illegal commercial surrogacy activities and the bureau is gathering evidence to support its allegations against them.

She said she couldn't yet reveal any information about the doctors and their involvement in the suspected surrogacy ring. Thanawat Phonnithidonlawat, head of the Bangkok Shelter for Children and Families, said the Social Development and Human Security Ministry has yet to be contacted by the biological parents of the two children taken into the shelter's care from the detained surrogates.

Chatri Phinyai, a lawyer with the Department of Health Service Support, said the suspects are likely to face more charges as an inspection of medical equipment and medications seized in the bust found they possibly were brought into the country without permission.

A total of 13 suspects have been arrested in connection with this surrogacy gang, said Pol Maj Gen Worawat.

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