Bodies of Essex lorry victims returned to Vietnam

Authorities have returned 16 of the 39 bodies

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Authorities have started repatriating the bodies of the Vietnamese victims who died while being trafficked to the UK in the back of a lorry last month.

Sixteen of the 39 bodies landed in Hanoi today and ambulances returned them to their families in provinces south of the Vietnamese capital.

The 31 men and eight women were found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Grays, Essex on October 23, having been transported via Belgium.

Police say they were aged between 15 and 44 and are believed to have paid human traffickers for their clandestine journey to Britain.

Several suspects have been arrested in the UK and Vietnam.

Hoang Lanh, whose 18-year-old son Hoang Van Tiep lost his life in the tragedy, said receiving his remains was “bittersweet”.

“I can't believe I would have to welcome my son back like this. I’m devastated but I am happy to have him back with us soon.”

Hoang Thi Nhiem, Mr Tiep's sister, said it was important that her brother was surrounded by family, adding: “He wouldn't be able to rest in peace if he had still been in England”.

The British ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward, said that the two countries continue to work together to "prevent human trafficking and protect vulnerable people here”.

Meanwhile in the UK, a lorry driver has pleaded guilty to plotting with others to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

Northern Irish truck driver Maurice Robinson, 25, is accused of being part of an international people-smuggling ring and also faces charges of 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

He has not yet been asked to enter pleas for these charges.

Read more

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