People attend a mass prayer for the 39 victims Saturday at My Khanh parish in Nghe An province, Vietnam. (Kham/Reuters)

Vietnam arrests eight more in connection with British deaths

Vietnamese Police have taken eight people in custody for their alleged connection with the death of 39 people – eight women and 31 men (all believed to be Vietnamese), in a refrigerated truck in Essex near London, last month – state Media reported. This has taken the number of arrested to 10 in Vietnam.

“Based on what we learn from the suspects, we will actively launch investigations to fight and eradicate these rings which bring people illegally to Britain,” said Nghe An province police chief Nguyen Huu Cau, according to the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

“The best thing to do now is to deal with the consequences of the incident and help family members receive the bodies,” Cau added.

British police last week charged two men with manslaughter over the deaths of the group, whose bodies were found inside a container on the truck on Oct. 23.

The suspected truck driver has been charged over the deaths, and on Friday detectives said another man, aged 23, from Northern Ireland, was also accused of 39 counts of manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offences.

Initially the victims were thought to be Chinese, however, later as deceased families contacted authorities, believing their loved ones were inside the truck, the victims were declared to be from Vietnam.

Most of the victims were from the Nghe An and the neighboring province of Ha Tinh, in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, encouragement by authorities, smuggling gangs and environmental disaster all fuel migration.

A delegation of Vietnamese diplomats flew to London on Sunday where they were expected to meet their counterparts regarding the matter.

Many people from Asian, African and Middle east countries have risked their lives by choosing an illicit way to migrate to the western countries in a pursuit of better life. The discovery of the bodies has shone spotlight on the issue.

 

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