News/US: Thai Boy Reunited With Grandparents

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Subject: News/US: Thai Boy Reunited With Grandparents
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 13:32:15 EDT


Thai Boy Reunited With Grandparents
May 23, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The 2-year-old boy authorities say was caught in a
human smuggling ring has been reunited with his paternal grandparents from
Thailand, who are in the process of adopting him.

Phanupong Khaisri had a quiet, private reunion with Boonlue Khaisri and his
wife on Monday after their arrival at Los Angeles International Airport,
said Hae Jung Cho, project director for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery
and Trafficking.

A hearing was scheduled Tuesday before U.S. District Court Judge Dickran
Tevrizian, and Cho said her group would insist that Phanupong stay in the
United States until he can receive a medical evaluation and his
grandparents are evaluated for their fitness to act as his parents.

The boy arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on April 11 with a man
and a woman. Immigration officials took him into custody after determining
that he was being used as a prop by the man, who they said was trying to
smuggle the woman into the country under the guise that all three were a
family.

His mother has said she thought he was sightseeing with friends. However,
Thai officials have found her unfit for custody.

Immigration officials had planned to quickly deport Phanupong to his native
country, saying Thai officials would make sure he was well cared for upon
his return. But local advocacy groups went to court to keep him in the
United States until his grandparents arrived.

They said they wanted to make sure he didn't fall into smugglers' hands
again and Tevrizian agreed.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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