24-year-old Japanese man sought in surrogacy scam flees Thailand

Thai police on Friday said they have launched a human trafficking probe after a Japanese man, believed to be the father of nine babies found in mysterious circumstances in a Bangkok apartment, left the country. -- PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NET
Thai police on Friday said they have launched a human trafficking probe after a Japanese man, believed to be the father of nine babies found in mysterious circumstances in a Bangkok apartment, left the country. -- PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A young Japanese man has left Thailand after emerging evidence suggests he might have played a key role in a surrogacy gang.

Thai authorities raided a northern Bangkok condominium on Tuesday after a tip-off and found nine babies under the care of nannies. A pregnant woman there said she was acting as a surrogate mother.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the Japanese businessman said his client was the father of all the babies.

The man has been identified as 24-year-old Shigeta Mitsutoki, Bangkok Post reported. He has been a frequent visitor to Thailand over the past two years. Records show he has made a total of 65 visits during the period, the report said.

According to local media, the businessman left Thailand on Thursday. The Nation published a photo on its website showing a man, believed to be the Japanese man, with a baby in his arms.

The latest discovery puts the kingdom's lax surrogacy laws under scrutiny. It came days after an international outcry over a surrogate baby with Down syndrome, who was allegedly left in Thailand by his Australian parents.