Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Three-year-old girl caught in custody drama at airport

STAFF WRITER

A US man was unable to leave the country with his daughter on Friday because the girl's Taiwanese mother refused to give him the girl's Taiwanese passport, local media reported yesterday.

The girl's mother, surnamed Ruan, told local press yesterday that she had the three-year-old "love child" with the 55-year-old US man, surnamed Kelly, in the US, but decided to bring her infant back to Taiwan after she discovered that Kelly was married. Local media reports did not say whether Kelly disputes that version of events.

According to Ruan, Kelly went to a US court to fight for custody of the girl. Local media reported that Kelly told the court that Ruan had psychological problems. Ruan failed to appear in court to defend herself, and so the US court awarded Kelly custody of the child, the reports said.

Kelly then asked the Taichung District Court -- where Ruan has her household registration -- to help him retrieve his daughter from Taiwan, in line with the US court's ruling.

Ruan said that on Friday morning Kelly, accompanied by a Taichung judge and police, entered her residence in Taipei and took away the girl, who Kelly planned to take with him out of the country that afternoon.

However, Kelly's plan hit a snag when CKS International Airport officials barred them from boarding a plane because the little girl did not have a Taiwanese passport, local media reported.

According to the reports, the officials said that the law required the girl to have a Taiwanese passport when exiting the country because she had one when she last entered Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Ruan rushed to the airport to plead with Kelly to leave her daughter in Taiwan, local media reported.

She told reporters that she "could not survive without her daughter" and that Kelly was "unable to take care of her daughter."

Later Friday, Kelly and his lawyer filed a lawsuit in a Taiwanese court to demand that Ruan hand over the girl's passport.

According to local media reports, Ruan said that Kelly had hired private agents to find her residence in Taiwan.

According to local media reports yesterday, Kelly and his daughter were still in Taiwan, awaiting a court decision on whether Ruan must hand over the girl's passport.

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