11 July 2024

Police have arrested a Chinese man and woman, and found at least seven Thai surrogate mothers, in coordinated raids of illegal assisted-reproduction clinics in Bangkok and vicinity. The pair are suspected of involvement in a major cross-border surrogacy racket.

In the raid on a house in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao area, police found seven Thai women, all of them pregnant, and a 20-day old baby being looked after by a woman who claimed to have been hired for 14,000 baht to look after babies in the house.

A Chinese man in the house was detained under suspicion that he hired poor Thai women to become surrogate mothers.

According to the Thai police, the Thai surrogate mothers would be sent to Laos, where embryos would be implanted at assisted-reproduction clinics.  Then, the women would return to the gang’s houses, where they would be taken care of until they are seven-months pregnant, whereupon they travel to China to deliver the babies.

The coronavirus outbreak now means, however, that the babies are being born in Thailand.

Pol Maj-Gen Torsak Sukwimon, deputy commissioner of Central Investigation Bureau, said that the Chinese recruiter of surrogate mothers would take care of all the expenses incurred by them.

He said that the gang had been operating this illegal business since 2013 and he had no idea how many babies had been born or whether all of them were sent back to China and for what purposes.

In another raid in the Town in Town area, police found an illegal assisted reproduction clinic, staffed by a Chinese woman.  They also found eight Chinese couples at a guest house, believed to be seeking assisted reproduction services from the clinic.

Eight Myanmar women, thought to be maids, were also found.

The two Chinese suspects were initially charged with operating illegal assisted-reproduction services and surrogacy services.