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Three small babies in their hospital beds with a nurse taking care of one of them.

A wealthy Japanese man at the centre of a “baby factory” scandal in Thailand has won sole parental rights to 13 children he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers.

Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, reportedly wanted a large number of children so they could inherit his fortune in the future. The court ruling on Tuesday means he will now make preparations to take them to live in Japan, according to his lawyer.

Some campaigners have raised concerns over the case, suggesting it was “way outside the norm for cross-border surrogacy” and highlighted the need for strong regulation. The court found the father had no history of bad behaviour and would provide for the children’s happiness.

The case attracted international attention in 2014 after nine infants — then estimated to be aged between two weeks and two years – were found under the care of 24-hour nannies in a luxury Bangkok apartment. They were subsequently cared for by the Thai state, while another four infants were deemed also to have been fathered by the same man.

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