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Interpol seeks clues to Thai 'baby factory'


By JOCELYN GECKER and THANYARAT DOKSONE

BANGKOK (AP) -- Interpol said Friday it has launched a multinational investigation into what Thailand has dubbed the "Baby Factory" case: a 24-year-old Japanese businessman who has 16 surrogate babies and an alleged desire to father hundreds more.

Police raided a Bangkok condominium earlier this month and found nine babies and nine nannies living in a few unfurnished rooms filled with baby bottles, bouncy chairs, play pens and diapers. They have since identified Mitsutoki Shigeta as the father of those babies - and seven others.

"What I can tell you so far is that I've never seen a case like this," said Thailand's Interpol director, police Maj. Gen. Apichart Suribunya. "We are trying to understand what kind of person makes this many babies."

Apichart said that regional Interpol offices in Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong and India have been asked to probe Shigeta's background, beginning last week. Police say he appears to have registered businesses or apartments in those countries and has frequently traveled there.

"We are looking into two motives. One is human trafficking and the other is exploitation of children," said Thai police Lt. Gen. Kokiat Wongvorachart, Thailand's lead investigator in the case. He said Shigeta made 41 trips to Thailand since 2010. On many occasions he traveled to nearby Cambodia, where he brought four of his babies.

Shigeta has not been charged with any crime. He is trying to get his children back - the 12 in Thailand are being cared for by social services - and he has proven through DNA samples sent from Japan that he is their biological father. He quickly left Thailand after the Aug. 5 raid on the condominium and has said through a lawyer that he simply wanted a large family and has the means to support it.

Kokiat said Shigeta hired 11 Thai surrogate mothers to carry his children, including four sets of twins. Police have not determined the biological mothers, Kokiat said.

The founder of a multinational fertility clinic that provided Shigeta with two surrogate mothers said she warned Interpol about him even before the first baby was born in June 2013.

"As soon as they got pregnant he requested more. He said he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he's dead," said Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the New Life clinic, which is based in Thailand and six other countries. He also inquired about equipment to freeze his sperm to have sufficient supply when he's older, she said in a telephone interview from Mexico.

As for Shigeta's motives, Kukunashvili said he told the clinic's manager that "he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting," and that "the best thing I can do for the world is to leave many children." Kukunashvili declined The Associated Press' request to talk to the clinic manager.

Kukunashvili, who is based at the company's headquarters in the country of Georgia, said she never met Shigeta but received reports from her Thai staff.

She said that in April 2013, she sent faxes in English and French to Interpol's head office in Lyon, France, and an email through the agency's website, but they went unanswered. Apichart of Interpol in Thailand said the local office never saw the warnings. An Interpol spokesman in Lyon did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Kukunashvili also sent Shigeta an email to express suspicion, and attorney Ratpratan Tulatorn responded on his behalf in an Aug. 31, 2013, email that the clinic owner provided to the AP.

The attorney said Shigeta was involved in "no dishonesty, no illegal activities." He said his client hoped to keep using New Life, but the company then stopped working with him.

Shigeta's activities drew no attention until early this month, when an Australian couple was accused of abandoning a baby with his Thai surrogate mother - but taking his twin sister - after learning the boy had Down syndrome. Though the couple disputes the allegation, the case prompted a crackdown by Thai authorities on what had been a largely unregulated industry.

After the Australian case emerged, police received a tip that prompted the raid on Shigeta's Bangkok apartment.

Ratpratan, the lawyer, appeared during the raid to insist that Shigeta had done nothing wrong.

"These are legal babies, they all have birth certificates," Ratpratan told Thailand's Channel 3 television station. "There are assets purchased under these babies' names. There are savings accounts for these babies, and investments. If he were to sell these babies, why would he give them these benefits?"

Ratpratan is no longer Shigeta's lawyer, and his replacement has not responded to requests for comment. Shigeta's current whereabouts are unknown.

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Viper1ex19 August 22 2014 at 8:36 PM

Obama voters do this all the time.

More babies means more government money.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
2 replies
fin4978262 Viper1ex19 August 22 2014 at 9:09 PM

LMAO you wacky guy. Did you come up with that all on your own or did you get help? hahahahaaaa zzzzzzzzzzzz

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Richard Viper1ex19 August 22 2014 at 10:24 PM

Without immigrants that the GOP is trying to stop, the US has a NEGATIVE BIRTH RATE. If that trend continues for another decade many social programs like social security and medicare will collapse and that's just fine with the GOP.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
harbick Richard August 22 2014 at 11:35 PM

You forget the cost to Medicaid,welfare,ect.

Flag 0 rate up
pineconeposter4 August 22 2014 at 10:23 PM

This is the norm with blacks and mexicans since they know our TAXES will provide for them.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
4 replies
Betty Webb August 22 2014 at 10:41 PM

This sort of thing happens all the time in Arizona's and Utah's polygamy compounds. Warren Jeffs, now serving a 25-to life sentence for child rap, had approximately 76 "wives" (no legal marriages) and several hundred children.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Ma Fosz August 22 2014 at 6:03 PM

At least this guy Shigeta is willing to have the babies taken care of. Most bar room Republicans in the USA would abandon the mother as soon as she had told him she was pregnant.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
Odens Fist Ma Fosz August 22 2014 at 6:37 PM

No you're WRONG..
You meant to say Minority/BLACKs.
There I fixed it for you.
Stop trying to mislead people with your pathetically transparent agenda.
Please euthanize yourself ASAP.
Thanks..
Have a swell day.. !!
"SLAP"

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
shevon Odens Fist August 22 2014 at 6:45 PM

Really, I know a whole lot of people black, white and all other races who do this. Though yes, maybe Afican Americans do it a bit more. They have an excuse that is rooted in slave trade; though it is time to take control.

Flag +1 rate up
Ma Fosz Odens Fist August 22 2014 at 7:57 PM

Just take a look in the Southern States. It is most apparent their. To a Southern Republican male is it just one more mouth to feed and it takes away the money they need for their meth and alcohol.

Flag +2 rate up
Odens Fist August 22 2014 at 6:35 PM

Nobody wants those undesriable genetics to to multiplied.
They ALL look the same..
FAIL

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
shevon Odens Fist August 22 2014 at 6:47 PM

Most idiots share your opinion. Please tell me you have no more than a high school diploma.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
michael shevon August 23 2014 at 12:05 AM

LOL. You think that idiot made it out of HS?

Flag 0 rate up
meemeepit August 22 2014 at 9:28 PM

do you not love the fact that there are IDIOTS all over this GLOBE!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
skydrop007 August 23 2014 at 8:03 AM

Obama would allow this guy to become an illegal in the USA if he would promise to multiply for votes.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
thekoshersissy August 23 2014 at 12:35 AM

Those babies are fugly. Throw them in the trash.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
davefromfwb1 August 23 2014 at 12:58 AM

The only reason this guy is having all these kids is to hide his investments in them....each kid probably has it's own corporation given to them....he invests money into these babies corporations that allows him to not pay taxes.....I wouldn't be surprised.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
minutemaus August 22 2014 at 5:00 PM

". . . I've never seen a case like this . . ."

Gee, I wish I had a dime . . .

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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