All IVF case builds as women talk

All IVF case builds as women talk

Two women hired as surrogate mothers by 24-year-old Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta insisted yesterday the arrangements had been overseen by Pisit Tantiwutthanakul, director of the All IVF Centre.

TELLING ALL: Panja Kojorn, left, and Ananya Jampa provide testimony to officers at Lumpini police station yesterday.

The two women, identified as Ananya Jampa, 38, and Panja Kojorn, 33, yesterday met Lumpini police investigators after they were summoned for questioning over the surrogacy case in which Mr Shigeta reportedly fathered 15 babies via surrogates in Thailand.

Pol Col Decha Promsuwan, chief investigator at Lumpini police station, said the two women both gave the same testimony to police — that All IVF Centre provided surrogacy services to Mr Shigeta, and that Dr Pisit was the obstetrician who oversaw the surrogacies until the children were born.

Ms Ananya had been hired by Mr Shigeta at the beginning of last year and gave birth to twins at Phaya Thai 2 Hospital in September of the same year, Pol Col Decha said

Ms Panja also delivered her surrogate baby at the same hospital in January last year after she took up the job in 2012. Each woman was paid 300,000 baht for her services, he said.

The two women were among 11 surrogates discovered at a condo on Soi Lat Phrao 130. At that time, they told police the All IVF Centre had overseen the surrogacy services, Pol Col Decha said.

Five more surrogate mothers will be invited to testify as witnesses against Dr Pisit from tomorrow.

Pol Col Decha said the womens' babies have been taken into care by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

On Thursday, Dr Pisit's lawyer contacted police requesting to delay his testimony, originally scheduled for Friday. The police granted Dr Pisit permission to postpone it until Sept 6.

If Dr Pisit fails to turn up, a warrant would be issued for his arrest, Pol Col Decha said.

An investigation is also under way into why Mr Shigeta took three other babies out of the country to Cambodia, said Pol Maj Gen Thitirat Nonghanpitak, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Pol Maj Gen Thitirat called on Mr Shigeta to return to Thailand to give his testimony to police.

Investigators believe Dr Pisit has a lot of information on Mr Shigeta, whose whereabouts is unknown.

Interpol said it had launched a multinational investigation into what has been dubbed the Lat Phrao "baby factory" case.

"What I can tell you so far is that I've never seen a case like it," said Pol Maj Gen Apichart Suribunya, Interpol Thailand's director.

"We are trying to understand what kind of person would make this many babies."

Pol Maj Gen Apichart said that regional Interpol offices in Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong and India have been asked to look into Mr Shigeta's background. Investigations began last week.

Police say Mr Shigeta registered businesses or apartments in those countries and travelled there frequently.

"We are looking into two motives. One is human trafficking and the other is exploitation of children," said Pol Lt Gen Kokiat Wongvorachart, another leading investigator in the case.

He said Mr Shigeta made 41 trips to Thailand since 2010.

The businessman had travelled on many occasions to Cambodia, where he took at least three babies, Pol Lt Gen Kokiat added.

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