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‘Little Ma’ Returns to Taitung after 2 years in ChiangRai Thailand



The aboriginal Amis boy, surnamed Shen and nicknamed “Little Ma,” said the person he was most eager to see was his grandfather, according to Rev. Mana Karunawong, who escorted the child on his return


TAIPEI – A Taiwanese boy whose mother abandoned him in ChiangRai Thailand two years ago yesterday returned to his family’s hometown at Taitung County.

The 7-year-old, identified only as “Little Ma,” arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 1 p.m. yesterday in the company of a Foreign Ministry official.

The 7-year-old spent two years in the company of Thai villagers after being abandoned by his mother.

Little Ma’s stepfather in Thailand and two cousins, as well as Mana Karunawong, a Chinese-Thai pastor based in Taiwan who first learned of the boy’s plight during a recent visit to Thailand, also accompanied the boy on his homecoming trip.

Wearing a face mask, the boy waved to media upon arrival at the airport, but did not respond to reporters’ questions.

The group later took a plane from Taipei to Taitung, where his mother’s family live.

The boy, however, will be temporarily sent to a foster family since the county government has deemed the boy’s mother and grandfather as unfit to raise him.

The Taitung County Government said Little Ma’s mother has suffered from mental disorders while his grandfather does not have enough money to raise the child alone, therefore it decided to place Little Ma with a foster family first.

The 7-year-old lived in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand for two years without an identity after being abandoned there by his mother.

The boy’s mother, who took him to Thailand to reunite with her Thai boyfriend in March 2010, later returned to Taiwan without the boy because her visa was set to expire. Little Ma ended up being taken care of by the villagers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs first took up the case in October last year when it received a letter from Karunawong, after the pastor learned about Little Ma’s plight.

The ministry later sent a representative to the village to help the boy return to Taiwan.

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