Eight people arrested in Vietnam over Essex container deaths

Tuesday, 05 Nov, 2019

On Friday, British police said in a statement that all 39 bodies found in the lorry container in Essex are believed to be Vietnamese.

British media are reporting that the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck in southeastern England were Chinese citizens.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested in Ireland in connection with the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in a container truck in southeast England last week.

Earlier today, Essex police gave a press conference in Belfast, where they made a direct appeal for two Co Armagh brothers to hand themselves in.

The 25-year-old driver of the refrigerated lorry, also from Northern Ireland, has been charged with manslaughter, money laundering and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

In Vietnam, police on Friday announced the arrest of two people for trafficking in connection with the deaths.

Vietnamese authorities said they had detained two individuals and summoned others for questioning on Friday after launching a criminal investigation into suspected human trafficking.

DNA samples were collected from families in Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces in central Vietnam to help identify victims.

They were held on Sunday on suspicion of organising people smuggling overseas.

The police are also seeking two brothers from Northern Ireland who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking.

In Dublin, a 23-year-old from Northern Ireland appeared at Ireland's High Court for the start of extradition proceedings to bring him to Britain.

"With deepest sorrows, I would like to extend deep sympathy with and honest condolences to families of the victims", he said, adding his government would continue working closely with the United Kingdom authorities.

In addition to manslaughter, Mr Harrison's charges include human trafficking and immigration offences, according to Essex Police. Ronan Hughes, who is believed to be hiring Robinson to collect the lorry from Purfleet reportedly phoned police soon after the discovery of the bodies and said Robinson was unaware of the clandestine human cargo.

Police said the eight were arrested Sunday on charges of organizing people smuggling overseas as the sprawling worldwide investigation into what appears to be a people-smuggling tragedy continues.

British authorities charged with trying to identify the remains are working with officials in Vietnam to try to get information about people who have been reported missing by their families and are thought to have been in transit to England.

Stoten said that the brothers "are known to have links in Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as the shipping industries".