MOFA to meet groups to discuss boy’s repatriation

ABANDONED ABROAD::The boy, who can not speak Chinese, was left in Thailand by his Taiwanese mother in 2010 and taken care of by local villagers

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - Page 3

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will meet with charities and local authorities in Taitung County on Tuesday to make provisions for a seven-year-old boy to relocate from a small village in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand back to Taiwan, an official said yesterday.

The boy’s Taiwanese mother took him to Thailand when she went there to reunite with her Thai boyfriend in March 2010. However, she returned to Taiwan in May that year, leaving her son in Thailand.

Mana Karunawong, a Chinese Thai pastor working in Chiayi Christian Hospital, learned of the boy’s story during a trip to Thailand in October.

According to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News on Monday, Karunawong said the boy could not speak Chinese, but expressed his wishes to return to Taiwan and see his mother in Thai.

Following the revelation, the ministry had personnel in the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Thailand investigate the boy’s situation and thank the local villagers for caring for the boy, said James Chou (周穎華), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Chou said that the ministry also contacted the Thai immigration authority to deal with the boy’s visa issues.

The boy told the ministry’s personnel that he would like to return to Taiwan, and the Thai government was willing to help with repatriation, Chou said.

The ministry will have a meeting on Tuesday with local government officials and representatives from charities, as well as the boy’s family, to coordinate the repatriation efforts and discuss details of his resettlement in Taiwan, Chou said.

The boy’s mother was originally from Taitung County.

His grandfather reportedly said that his daughter became ill shortly after returning from Thailand and now lives in Hsinchu with his son.

The boy’s grandfather and grandmother still live in Taitung.