News/US: Toddler used before, say police

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Subject: News/US: Toddler used before, say police
From: Melanie Orhant (
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 07:57:20 EDT

Toddler used before, say police
Mother 'joked about selling her son'
May 5, 2000

(Reuters) -- Phanupong Khaisee, three, had been used at least twice to help
a racket bring Asian women into the United States, police sources said

They said Tubtim Kaewpaengchan, 22, told investigators she had let a friend
look after her son and was unaware he had been taken to the US.

However, Tan and Tong Kaewpaengchan said their daughter told them on April
12 she intended to sell the boy.

US immigration authorities have delayed deporting Phanupong for a week
under pressure from Thai expats.

They deported to Thailand an Asian couple holding Singaporean passports
after they attempted to enter with the boy, travelling as Somsak Deema.

Pol Lt-Gen Chidchai Wanasatid, the immigration police chief, said Suseno
Karjopranoto had been deported from Thailand and declared persona non grata.

Chu Mwei Long, from Fujian, China, was being detained because she had
denied using a fake passport.

Pol Lt-Gen Chidchai said he wanted to establish if the gang had any
connection with immigration officers at Don Muang airport.

The sources said Ms Tubtim, a former masseuse, had lived in with a
Singaporean, identified as Ma Chao Yong. She was thought to have let the
suspects take her boy to the US to make authorities think he was their son.

Ms Tubtim's parents, who live in Chiang Rai, said Phanupong's father killed
himself two years ago after being diagnosed HIV-positive. Since then,
Phanupong had stayed with them.

On April 12, they said, Ms Tubtim returned to pick up the boy and his birth
certificate. "She half jokingly told us then that she would sell the boy
for 10,000 baht," said Mr Tan.

Pol Lt-Gen Chidchai said the use of a boy to facilitate human smuggling
from Thailand to the US was unprecedented.

Um Maolanont, deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the Thai consulate in
Los Angeles had confirmed that Phanupong would stay in the US until police
had completed the investigation into the role of Ms Tubtim.

Officials said the parents of the boy's father were well-to-do and could be
asked to look after the boy when he is sent home from the US.

The Public Welfare Department has supported the postponement because it had
reservations about Ms Tubtim's involvement.

Pol Maj-Gen Chongrak Chutanont, deputy city police chief, said Ms Tubtim
would have filed a missing person report had she been truly concerned for
her son. "Her behaviour is unusual for a mother," he added.
Melanie Orhant <<>>
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