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A court in Bangkok, Thailand, granted a wealthy Japanese paternity rights of 13 children born of surgeries in that country.
The court’s decision opens the way for Mitsutoki Shigeta , 28, to obtain custody of the children and transfer them to Japan.
It is the latest twist in this scandal known as “baby factory” that came to light in 2014, when police discovered that Shigeta had been the father of at least 16 children conceived in Thailand, with the help of surrogate mothers.
Nine of them were found in a luxurious apartment in Bangkok (along with a surrogate mother), cared for by babysitters 24 hours a day.
This extraordinary discovery raised the issue of the lack of regulation on this industry in Thailand, and in 2015 the authorities prohibited foreigners from contracting paid bellies in the country.
“For the sake of the children”
Shigeta, who did not appear before the court, received the exclusive rights over the children after the mothers renounced theirs.
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“For the happiness and the opportunities they will receive from their biological father, who has no history of misconduct, the court decided that the 13 children born of surrogate wombs will be the legal children of the plaintiff,” said the statement from the Central Juvenile Court. and of the Bangkok Family.
It is not the first time it happens.
In 2015, the Japanese obtained custody of three more of his babies.
But who is this strange character and what are you looking for, engendering so many children at once?
Very little is known about his background.
According to Japanese media, he is the son of a billionaire in the area of artificial intelligence. It is estimated that he paid between US $ 9,300 and US $ 12,500 for each of the surrogate mothers.
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The local press points out that he is single , owns several companies and has already made plans for the future of his children, including the creation of trusts.
He currently lives in Japan, but is believed to have traveled to India and also to Ukraine to continue to produce more children.
Why does he do this?
When a blurry photo taken by the security cameras of an airport in Thailand, in which Shigeta was seen with a child in arms, was made public, numerous speculations arose about his motives.
According to Jonathan Head, correspondent of the Southeast Asia of the BBC, the Thai police began to investigate it for presumed human trafficking.
His lawyer, however, insists that Shigeta simply wants a large family and, as he has a more than comfortable economic situation, can take care of them properly.
He also explained that his client was born into a large family. The court accepted his arguments.
The 13 minors who are now their legal children will not be immediately in their custody.
Shigeta will have to agree the next steps with the authorities of Thailand that have been in the care of the children to avoid sudden changes in the life of these.