Twelve migrants found alive in refrigerated lorry in Belgium

The vehicle was parked near the E34 motorway

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Twelve migrants have been found alive in the back of a refrigerated lorry in northern Belgium.

The men, from Syria and Sudan, were discovered by police after the driver of the vehicle - which was carrying fruit and vegetables - alerted the authorities.

The lorry was parked in a car park near the E34 motorway, which runs from Zeebrugge to North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

The 12 men have now been taken to an immigration office in Antwerp.

It comes one week after 39 migrants were found dead in a similar refrigerated truck in Essex.

The vehicle had arrived in England via the Belgian village of Zeebrugge.

The 25-year-old driver, Maurice Robinson, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

He will next appear at the Old Bailey on November 25 to make his plea and attend a trial preparation hearing.

Three other people arrested in connection with the case - a 38-year-old man and woman and a 46-year-old man - have been released on bail until November.

Police originally believed the 39 victims were Chinese, but Vietnamese men and women are now feared to be among the dead.

Very few of the eight women and 31 men had identification on them, meaning police have been using fingerprints, scars and tattoo to try and trace their families.

It is expected to be a "lengthy abd complex" investigation, Essex Police have said.

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