Bangkok: Amid the raging debate on regulating commercial surrogacy in Thailand, a 24-year-old Japanese man, who is allegedly the father of nine babies has fled the country.
Shigeta Mitsutoki flew out of the country yesterday after he was identified as the father of babies living in a condominium in Lat Phrao district here.
It comes soon after an Australian couple abandoned their baby with his Thai surrogate mother discovering the child had Down syndrome and taking home his healthy twin.
Thailand does not has specific laws to regulate commercial surrogacy.
A legislation has been drafted and is expected to be moved soon in the newly formed National Legislative Assembly.
The Medical Council, however, bans paid surrogacy and requires surrogate mothers be either in-laws or relatives of couples seeking help.
Doctors who fail to comply risk losing their medical licences.
The dark side of surrogacy saga came to limelight in the wake of the huge media coverage over Gammy, the baby boy with Down syndrome and allegedly abandoned by an Australian couple.
The couple reportedly hired Pattharamon Chanbua to be a surrogate mother but took along Gammy`s healthy twin sister.
After Gammy`s case became big news, locals alerted officials about the case of nine babies.
Officials have placed the babies, each aged no more than one year old, under the care of the Pakkred Babies` Home.
A police investigation found that Mitsutoki had travelled in and out of Thailand 65 times during the past two years.
On several occasions in the past, security-camera footage at Suvarnabhumi Airport had showed him carrying a baby as he left the airport.
"When he came in, he stated he was going to stay at a luxury hotel," Nation paper quoted police as saying.
Police is probing whether he is really involved in surrogacy scandal and whether his actions are offences under relevant laws such as those banning human trafficking.
Health Service Support (HSS) Department Director-General Boonrueang Trairueangworarat said that while there were no specific laws on surrogacy in Thailand, there were related applicable laws.
He said there were 45 authorised facilities for fertility treatments and just 240 authorised practitioners in Thailand.
"Offenders face a jail term of up to one year and a maximum fine of Thai Bhat 20,000 or 40,000 rupees," he said.