Updated: 01/03/2014 21:58 | By Agence France-Presse

Emotional reunion for Brazil-Taiwan custody row orphan

A Brazilian-Taiwanese orphan who was at the centre of a bitter international custody battle a decade ago returned to Taiwan Friday for the first reunion with his relatives. 

Emotional reunion for Brazil-Taiwan custody row orphan

Iruan Ergui Wu plays during a welcome party on February 13, 2004 in Canoas, southern Brazil

Iruan Ergui Wu, known as Wu Yi-hua in Taiwan, arrived at Taipei's international airport to be greeted by a dozen Taiwanese relatives, who gave him bouquets of flowers and displayed banners reading "welcome". 

Taiwanese news channels broadcast live footage of the emotional reunion as the 18-year-old hugged his uncle Wu Huo-yen and other relatives who had tears in their eyes. 

"I am very happy and very nervous. I have waited ten years and finally (he) came," Wu Huo-yen told reporters.

Iruan Wu is scheduled to stay in Taiwan for 15 days to attend family gatherings and Catholic community events, according to the Taiwan Catholic Mission Foundation, which organised his trip.

He spent three years in Taiwan until the age of eight, when his uncle lost his custody to the child's Brazilian grandmother in 2004. 

The boy was born in Brazil to a Brazilian mother and a Taiwanese father -- a fishing boat captain -- who were not married. His mother died in 1998 and his father brought him to Taiwan in March 2001, only to die a couple of weeks later. 

His grandmother, Rosa Leocadia Ergui, took legal action to gain custody in August 2001 after the uncle refused to let her grandson return to Brazil.

The boy made international headlines when clashes broke out in 2004 as a group of police officers tried to enforce a court order to take him away from his uncle's home in southern Kaohsiung city for his return to Brazil. 

Wu Huo-yen, who had insisted that his late brother wanted the boy to stay in Taiwan, eventually abided by the court ruling and the boy returned to Brazil in February 2004, ending a three-year tug-of-love for his custody. 

The boy was adopted by a German couple in Brazil when he was 13 years old as his grandmother got ill. She passed away last year.

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