Japanese man wins custody of 13 kids born to Thai surrogates

Thai court hands surrogate kids to Japanese father

A Japanese man who fathered over a dozen babies through Thai surrogate mothers has been authorised to take home at least 13 children.

The man's lawyer explains his motivation for wanting so many children as "personal and business reasons".

A spokesman for Bangkok's Central Juvenile Court said: "For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their biological father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, the court rules that all 13 born from surrogacy to be legal children of the plaintiff".

In 2014, Shigeta, who is unmarried, was at the centrt of an global scandal after a luxury apartment in Bangkok was raided and found to contain nine children and their seven 24-hour nannies.

The man's lawyer told reporters his client wants to take the children to Japan as soon as possible.

The Japanese man was given custody of the 13 children on Tuesday largely due to his financial and professional stability, and he was found to have no links to human trafficking, the court statement said.

The children were estimated to be between two weeks and two years old at the time and have since been cared for by the Thai state, while another four were later deemed also to have been fathered by him.

The man is the son of a Japanese tycoon and the president of a company listed on the stock exchange as well as an investor in several other businesses, the court noted.

Shigeta paid surrogate mothers around $10,000 each for carrying the fertilized donor eggs in their wombs.

The scandal also led authorities to crack down on Thailand's unregulated surrogacy business.

Thailand's rewriting of its surrogacy laws sparked a series of legal tussles, including a 14-month custody war between a same-sex couple and a Thai surrogate who was eventually forced to give up the baby girl.

Shigeta's freaky case threw a spotlight on the kingdom's unregulated rent-a-womb industry, prompting authorities to bar foreigners in 2015 from paying for Thai surrogates.

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