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Interpol probes Thailand's 'Baby Factory'

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 6:11 p.m.

BANGKOK — Interpol said on Friday it has started a multinational investigation into what Thailand has dubbed the “Baby Factory” case: a 24-year-old Japanese businessman who has 16 surrogate babies and an alleged desire to father hundreds more.

Police raided a Bangkok condominium this month and found nine babies and nine nannies living in a few unfurnished rooms filled with baby bottles, bouncy chairs, play pens and diapers. They have since identified Mitsutoki Shigeta as the father of those babies — and seven others.

“What I can tell you so far is that I've never seen a case like this,” said Thailand's Interpol director, police Maj. Gen. Apichart Suribunya. Apichart said that regional Interpol offices in Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong and India have been asked to probe Shigeta's background.

“We are looking into two motives. One is human trafficking and the other is exploitation of children,” said Thai police Lt. Gen. Kokiat Wongvorachart, Thailand's lead investigator in the case.

Shigeta has not been charged with any crime. He is trying to get his children back — the 12 in Thailand are being cared for by social services — and he has proved through DNA samples that he is their biological father.

As for Shigeta's motives, he told New Life clinic's manager that “he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting,” said Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the clinic.

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