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Thailand vows 'leniency' in surrogacy cases as it looks to toughen rules

Published on Aug 23, 2014 12:35 PM
Surrogate babies that Thai police suspect were fathered by a Japanese businessman who has fled from Thailand are shown on a screen during a news conference at the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok on Aug 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's junta has pledged leniency in the cases of babies born to surrogate mothers, as it looks to toughen rules in the lucrative but largely unregulated industry following a series of scandals.

Dozens, possibly hundreds, of foreign couples are thought to have been left in limbo after entering into surrogacy arrangements through clinics in the kingdom.

General Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, who seized power in a coup three months ago, said in his weekly televised address late on Friday that the military rulers would move quickly to find "sustainable solutions".

"We are concerned that Thai women who are already surrogates will not dare to consult doctors at hospitals while they are pregnant because they are afraid that they would be prosecuted," he said. "The clinics that hired them or asked them to do it have been closed, so it is dangerous for the babies," added General Prayuth, who was on Thursday picked as prime minister by the new junta-appointed legislature. "I have already ordered leniency on a case-by-case basis."

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