Three years after being orphaned and brought to Taiwan, Brazilian boy Iruan Ergui Wu looks set to finally return home. Or be ripped from his home, depending which way you look at it. It is a case with a remarkable resemblance to that of Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez - who was caught up in a custody battle between relatives in the United States and Cuba. Now aged eight, Iruan was brought to Taiwan by his father in March 2001 following the death of his mother. However, his father died a few weeks later, leaving Iruan's custody open to interpretation. The complicating factor is that his parents were not married. The saga has dragged on, but now if things go smoothly, the fate and custody of Iruan will finally be resolved. For years, his maternal grandmother has been fighting to get her grandson returned. Rosa Ergui petitioned Brazilian authorities and the Taiwan courts to gain custody, and thus ensure that Iruan goes back to Brazil. The issue has been played out, on and off, in both the Taiwan and Brazilian media. According to one account, a Brazilian TV station aired footage of Iruan playing at his uncle's home in Kaohsiung with commentary pointing to the poor conditions in which he was forced to live. In fact, by most accounts, his current family life and living environment are quite good, with his Taiwan family providing a clean, safe environment. A certain amount of bias has come into Taiwan coverage too, as the media profiles the happy supportive environment Iruan enjoys with his extended Taiwan family. His Taiwan home is the ideal place for a young boy to grow up, they claim. The issue has got some quarters so heated up that vice-president Annette Lu Hsiu-lien was called on to intervene on behalf of the Taiwanese family, but she successfully demurred. Brazil's pseudo-embassy was so concerned about the security implications of the dispute that in November it decided to close down its office in the afternoons until Iruan was 'safely escorted back to Brazil'. That move coincided with the beginning of what appears to be the last chapter of the story. In November, Rosa Ergui's wish appeared to have been granted when Taiwan's Supreme Court confirmed an earlier decision by the High Court that she is his legal guardian. His Taiwan family is understandably reluctant to give him up, and has even appeared willing to pay the fine that goes with failing to hand him over. To help fund their cause, they have called on the public to make donations to pay the fine and support him. They claim he should stay in Taiwan until he finishes his education. Back in Brazil, local groups have promised to fund his education, including through university, and have even pledged to provide a private tutor to continue his Putonghua instruction. To this very day, however, Iruan remains firmly on Taiwan soil. The deadline passed two weeks ago, but a supplementary order from a local court gave the family 20 more days so that Iruan could see out Lunar New Year in Taiwan. If they do not hand him over, the court can order the police to intervene, opening up the chance of an Elian Gonzalez-style operation.