Sunday 17 December 2017

Australian couple who left baby in Thailand want share of donations

Pattaramon Chanbua with her children Game (7) left, and baby Gammy who was left in Thailand.
Pattaramon Chanbua with her children Game (7) left, and baby Gammy who was left in Thailand.

Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney

An Australian couple who left their surrogate baby boy in Thailand after learning he had Down syndrome have been accused of making an "insane" claim for some of the donations that poured in from across the world to support him.

The charity Hands Across the Water said David Farnell and his wife Wendi Li have made a "perplexing" claim for a share of the $235,062 funds which were raised to ensure a healthy future for Gammy, the baby boy.

Gammy is being raised in Thailand by his surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua, who said Mr Farnell had no right to the funds and had "gone insane to think like this".

Mr Farnell and his wife caused an international outcry last year after they left Gammy in Thailand and returned to their home in Western Australia with his healthy twin sister.

The case took an additional twist when it emerged that Mr Farnell, an electrician, was a convicted child sex offender.

Baby Gammy was left in Thailand while his healthy sister was taken to Australia.

Peter Baines, the founder of Hands Across The Water, said the claim for funds was made several weeks ago but he did not know how much Mr Farnell and his lawyers were seeking.

"It's perplexing. I don't understand it on any level," Mr Baines said.

"The money was donated through the goodwill of people from not just Australia, but across the world, for the immediate care and for the long-term care of Gammy. The funds were donated by everyone because of the alleged actions of Mr Farnell, and to think he believes he has some right of claim over it . . . I find it perplexing."

Mr Farnell and his wife have not commented on the latest allegations but said last year that they did not abandon Gammy and insisted they still wanted to seek custody of him.

Mr Farnell and his wife said they left Gammy behind because the biological mother was trying to keep both the children and they were worried they would lose their daughter. Ms Chanbua, who has insisted the baby was abandoned, said the couple had no rights to the donations. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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