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Sorrow expressed for truck victims

China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-09 07:36

HANOI/LONDON - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has extended his condolences to families of the 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a truck in England in a people-smuggling tragedy.

In a statement, he called on the Vietnamese authorities and people nationwide to support the families to overcome their great loss.

The British authorities said on Thursday that they had worked with Vietnamese police and formally identified the bodies that were found on Oct 23 in the back of the truck in the English town of Grays.

"This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese police colleagues to support the families of those victims," said Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith. "It is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information."

Police last week said all of the victims were Vietnamese citizens. DNA samples were taken from families in Vietnam who suspected their missing relatives may have been on that truck. Essex police had previously stated that the victims were from China.

British police have charged 25-year-old Maurice Robinson from Northern Ireland with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. They say he drove the cab of the truck to the English port of Purfleet, where it picked up the container, which had arrived by ferry from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Three other people have been released on bail pending further investigations in the case.

In Ireland, a 22-year-old man was arrested on a British warrant. Essex Police said they have started extradition proceedings to bring him to the United Kingdom to face charges of manslaughter in the case.

Several other suspects have been arrested in Vietnam.

In a separate incident on Wednesday, British police arrested 15 people found in a truck near Wiltshire. The men were detained on suspicion of entering the UK illegally. The driver, a man from Ireland, was arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry.

Xinhua - AP - China Daily

(China Daily 11/09/2019 page8)

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