Five more surrogacy ring suspects face charges

Five more surrogacy ring suspects face charges

Five more people suspected of being members of a transnational surrogacy ring turned themselves in on Wednesday to answer charges, police said.

The four doctors and a scientist are facing charges of conspiring to commit a transnational crime and engaging in illegal commercial surrogacy.

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) chief Pol Maj Gen Worawat Watnakornbancha refused to go into detail about the five suspects, saying further details would be released tomorrow.

"As for suspects who remain at large, police teams are keeping a close watch on them," he said.

The suspects hauled in yesterday are believed to have been sponsored by several Chinese financiers, a source said.

Deputy ATPD chief, Pol Col Mana Klipsattabut, ATPD, said another doctor was questioned in connection with the surrogacy case on Tuesday and released on bail.

He denied any involvement with illegal activity or the gang, he said.

There are currently 10 other suspects grouped into two sub-groups of two and eight, said Pol Col Mana.

On Feb 13, nine suspects, seven Thais and two Chinese nationals, were arrested in raids in Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Sukhothai provinces.

They also face charges of colluding in transnational criminal activity and engaging in commercial surrogacy.

The raids were conducted after police identified a group of Chinese nationals allegedly hiring Thai women to serve as surrogates.

The following day, the ATPD arrested two more Thai suspects in Chiang Mai, sources said.

Police said they were hired by the Chinese suspects to work as brokers between them and potential surrogate mothers. This pair also face the same charges.

Investigators believe surrogacy activities began in the kingdom back in 2012. They said at least 100 women had been recruited as surrogates.

Police said the women were being offered up to 450,000 baht per pregnancy.

Some surrogates travelled to neighbouring countries to be inseminated and returned to the kingdom to give birth while others gave birth in China.

Police said several women in Pathum Thani who were allegedly hired as surrogates for the commercial ring were questioned as part of the investigation.

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