For services to column inches and the newspaper industry – The Bunbury Mail, in Western Australia….
It was only a matter of time before a helpful neighbour dobbed in the couple who have outraged the Western world by taking only one of the twins born to Thai surrogate, Pattaramon Chanbua, leaving Pattaramon to care for little Gammy, her son born with Down’s syndrome. Fairfax Media have been running ‘enticements’ all week:
Finally their prayers were answered. A neighbour phoned in with the news that a Bunbury couple, David and Wendy Farnell had a ‘new baby’ in the house – could it be them?
“When I got home on Saturday night I’m sure IÂ saw them in the driveway getting a baby carrier out of the car,” he said.
“The biological parents have not been named but the media is focusing on an address in Bunbury.”
Not just focussing, but digging through their contacts and the cuttings library to learn everything they could about this couple before they revealed all to the rest of the panting media pack.
‘Heartless pair’ – how could they have just taken just one twinÂ and left the other with Pattaramon toÂ live a life of penury and deprivation in a third world country, merely because he had Down’s syndrome?
Then – “Hold the front page!” – the cry went up. “Mothering Mathilda!” “Holy King Rolf!”
And in a heartbeat, without so much as a blush, the media turned about face.
David and Wendy Farnell wentÂ from being a ‘heartless pair’ into a ‘deviant pair’ and questions were asked as to how ‘heartless Pattaramon’ could possibly have handed over one of her twins to a registered sex offender and genuine paedophile.
The Supreme Court of Western Australia court documents list the 1997 charges against the man who has returned from Thailand to Bunbury, in WAâs South West, with his wife and a baby girl.
The man appeared in Bunbury court to face charges of unlawfully and indecently dealing with a child under the age of 13 years and five counts of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 13 years.
The man was given a three-year jail term, with parole, for sexually molesting two girls under the age of 10.
He had pleaded not guilty to six charges of indecently dealing with a child under 13.
The RSPCA were called in – could the couple’s dogs be in danger from this man? He had been barking for two days – was this a sign of trauma following perverted abuse, or merely a reaction to the media world now noisily camped on his doorstep?Â
Two days ago we were told that:
The Thai surrogate mother of the abandoned baby Gammy says she will sue the couple who left their son behind, challenging the child’s father to appear with her on television.
Two days ago we were being told of the ‘excessive’ regulation surrounding Adoption and Surrogacy in Western Australia, which led desperate couples to go to Thailand ‘where regulations were more relaxed’.
Two days ago there were hints that the Thai agency which arranged the adoption was not all it seemed to be.
Ms Kamonthip had no medical education or training before she founded the Bangkok-based company IVF Parenting in early 2013, as the largely unregulated surrogacy business began to boom in Thailand, with hundreds of couples coming from Australia to take part in commercial programs.
LinkedIn lists Ms Kamonthip as working in visa and language services before she founded the company, which advertised as specialising in surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation.
She was at Thailandâs Kasetsart University between 2002 and 2006 studying agricultural biotechnology, a collection of scientific techniques used to improve plants, animals and microorganisms.
For almost two years from 2010, Ms Kamonthip was participating in Au Pair, a program where a domestic assistant from a foreign country works for and lives as part of a family in a host country.
The Bunbury Mail was carrying the best story they could come up with at the time – that of ‘Karen’ who ‘hoped the controversy wouldn’t affect’ the ease with which childless Bunbury couples could go to Thailand and return with a happy bouncing baby. Â We’ll hear no more of that angle.
Now grim faced child protection officers are being photographed making fruitless visits to the house to ‘engage with the couple and discuss their suitability as prospective parents’. No one is answering the door. A tad late, one might say?
Pattaramon no longer wants to force the couple to take both babies, she wants her daughter returned to her.
Â “I am very worried about my baby girl. I need help from anyone who can bring my girl back to me as soon as possible â¦ This news make me sick. I will take care of my twin babies. I will not give her or him to any family that wants a baby.”
The fund for her son’s medical treatment has now soared to overÂ Â£100,000. How much will be raised to ‘rescue’ a baby girl from child abusers?
Ms Kamonthip’s web site, ivfarenting.com was taken off-line early yesterday morning.Â
I want to know how a registered child abuser can travel to Thailand, where the only legal adoption to transfer rights to a new ‘Father’ takes seven years, and return to Australia with a baby girl – presumably on a passport – and a media obsessed with child protection is outclassed, outsourced, and outrun, by a free advertising rag.
We shall have to watch the Bunbury Mail, currently the epicentre of media attention.
The Bunbury Mail is published each Wednesday and is distributed free to homes and businesses throughout theÂ region to 25,500 homes.
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