Four Thais and three Chinese nationals have been arrested in a crackdown on a cross-border surrogacy racket at 10 suspected locations in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
The Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with the Central Investigation Bureau on Friday announced the results of the crackdown.
“The investigation has led to the arrest of three Chinese nationals who allegedly work as agents for customers who need surrogate service, and four Thai women who allegedly carry babies for foreign customers, along with confiscation of other evidence such as computers, mobile phones and documents,” Deputy Public Health Minister Dr Satit Pitutecha said.
Satit added that officials had tracked the racket down after an online advertisement for cleaning ladies, which offered a suspiciously high renumeration.
“One of the suspects has said that they had opened the service for about 10 years and pay the mother-for-hire at around Bt500,000 per pregnancy,” he said.
“The racket will pay all the expenses in the surrogacy operation, including taking the women to Cambodia for embryo implant, then bringing them back to stay in Thailand until the due date, and finally taking them to another country to give birth and deliver the babies to the customers.”
Officials also reportedly found two babies aged 6 and 8 months at one of the locations, whereas one of the suspects reportedly confessed that they were born from women who had to give birth in Thailand due to the Covid-19 lockdown preventing them from travelling to birthing destinations as planned.
“The initial DNA test of the babies revealed that they have Chinese national parents,” said Satit. “Officials are gathering evidence to track down these customers as well as those involved with the surrogacy racket.”