Saturday, October 19, 2019

Police doctor in trouble over US birth-right tip

May 17. 2019
Pol Lt Colonel Dr Anchulee (Teerawongpaisan) Phetcharat
Pol Lt Colonel Dr Anchulee (Teerawongpaisan) Phetcharat
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By The Nation

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A former deputy police spokeswoman could come under scrutiny by both the Royal Thai Police and the Medical Council of Thailand after suggesting on social media that Thai women can give birth in the United States using a legal loophole to obtain US nationality.

Pol Lt-General Withoon Nitiwarangkul, director of Police General Hospital, where Pol Lt Colonel Dr Anchulee (Teerawongpaisan) Phetcharat – colloquially known as Dr Air – serves in the Department of  of Psychiatry and Drug Dependence, said on Friday he had instructed public relations officials at the hospital to look into the matter. 

Their findings would determine whether Anchulee violating any rule, he said, and if so, would lead to an official probe. 

Withoon stressed that there was no fact-finding or disciplinary probe underway as yet.

Medical Council secretary-general Dr Itthiporn Khanacharoen said his agency was checking whether Anchulee’s “personal post” online had breached medical professional ethics.

Anchulee, who gave birth to a son earlier this month, drew criticism after posting a photo of herself pregnant on May 14 with a message inscribed on her belly in Thai. 

The caption invited interested mothers-to-be to give birth in the US to secure a better future and good opportunities for their child. It said they could get free counselling from a private-sector service. 

Anchulee deleted the post in the wake of numerous negative comments, including some questioning whether abuse of the claimed legal loophole was fair to American taxpayers.

The US constitution deems anyone born in the country an American citizen. Thousands of foreigners go there every year to give birth and thus gain for their children US citizenship and the privileges it offers, including free primary and secondary education. 

US citizens can also apply for permission for their parents, spouses and children under 21 who live abroad to relocate to the US. 

The Centre for Migration Studies puts the figure at 36,000 foreign women giving birth in the US each year, with many coming from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Nigeria, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

The administrator of the US-based Facebook page “CSI LA” criticised Anchulee’s post. 

“I don’t know if Dr Air knows she is breaking US law by posting such an invitation to pregnant women to give birth in the US,” it said. 

“US Immigration Police have been suppressing gangs for such ‘birth tourism’. Many Chinese agents were arrested and jailed. How can Dr Air [do this, since she serves] as a police officer and a doctor? Is it for financial gain, a commission fee from the private sector?”

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