Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women discovered in surrogacy raid

When the baby is delivered the terms of her agreement are that she will be paid $300 a month until the full $10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said. (AP)
Updated 23 June 2018
0

Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women discovered in surrogacy raid

  • There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media say it exceeds 10,000 every year
  • Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after a decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015

PHNOM PENH: Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women who were carrying babies on behalf of Chinese clients have been discovered during a raid on an illegal commercial surrogacy operation, police said on Saturday.
Five people, including a Chinese manager, were arrested following raids at two apartments in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, police said.
Cambodia had been a popular international destination for infertile couples looking to have babies through commercial surrogacy even though it is was made illegal in 2016.
Keo Thea, director of Phnom Penh’s anti-trafficking office, told Reuters on Saturday that five people, including four Cambodian women and the male Chinese manager, had been detained during a police raid on Thursday.
“Our authorities have charged them with human trafficking and being intermediaries in surrogacy,” Keo Thea said.
The pregnant women would not face charges at the moment, he said.
“They are carrying babies for Chinese nationals,” he said, adding that each woman was promised $10,000 for the service.
Once a woman becomes pregnant she receives $500. When the baby is delivered the terms of her agreement are that she will be paid $300 a month until the full $10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said.
Keo Thea said the surrogacy operation had already provided about 20 babies to clients in China.
“Some were born in China and some were born in Cambodia,” Keo Thea said.
Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after a decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015.
There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media say it exceeds 10,000 every year.
Thailand and India have blocked foreigners from using commercial surrogacy services following a series of cases that raised concern about exploitation.
Thailand banned the practice in 2015 and subsequently several Thai clinics move across the border into Cambodia until commercial surrogacy was banned there the following year.


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
0

Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.