Interpol Joins Probe of Suspected Baby-Trafficking Ring

The international police network Interpol has gotten involved in the case of a Japanese man suspected of running a baby-trafficking ring, launching an investigation across four countries including Cambodia, according to media reports.

Last week, the Phnom Penh police department confirmed that it was investigating the case of Mitsutoki Shigeta, 24, a Japanese national who has fathered at least 16 children—four of them are believed to be in Cambodia—using surrogate mothers in Thailand.

Though Mr. Shigeta, whose whereabouts are unknown, has not been charged, Thai police suspect him of either human trafficking or child exploitation, according to The Associated Press

Citing Thailand’s Interpol director, AP reported over the weekend that Interpol offices were joining the investigation in Thailand and three other countries where Mr. Shigeta is believed to have registered businesses or apartments: Cambodia, China and Japan.

Mr. Shigeta has five businesses registered in Cambodia alone, according to Commerce Ministry records. The Interior Ministry’s passport department has also confirmed that Mr. Shigeta has Cambodian citizenship thanks to a 2012 royal decree.

Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Thea, who confirmed that Cambodia was investigating the case, declined to discuss his progress.

“I can’t say right now. When I am ready to talk, I will talk,” he said.

Neither Cambodia’s Interpol office nor the head of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, Sok Phal, could be reached for comment. Mr. Phal’s deputy, Keo Vanthan, who used to run the local Interpol office, said he knew nothing about the case.

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