All 39 bodies found in a refrigerated truck outside London last month have now been identified as citizens of Vietnam, British police and Vietnamese officials said on Thursday. The Vietnamese embassy in London said it was “in deep sorrow” over the confirmation that the 31 men and eight women discovered dead in the back of a truck on October 23 were from the southeast Asian country.
“Once again, we would like to convey our profound condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families,” it said in a statement. It added that its staff and a Vietnamese government delegation would “provide consular protection and support for the bereaved families in order to bring their loved ones home at the earliest time”.
Essex Police, the local force investigating the gruesome discovery, confirmed that the victims’ families had been informed, without making further comment.
The victims were found in the early hours of October 23 on a truck that had entered Britain on a ferry from Belgium.
Essex Police had initially said the victims were believed to be Chinese nationals, until several Vietnamese families came forward to say they feared their relatives were on board.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security also confirmed Thursday that all 39 were from the country, noting they hailed from six provinces.
Police in Britain have charged the 25-year-old driver of the refrigerated lorry, Mo Robinson, from Northern Ireland, with manslaughter, money laundering and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.
They are also in the process of extraditing another suspect from Ireland and searching for others potentially involved.Vietnam has held 11 people in connection with the deaths for helping people travel abroad with the intention of staying overseas illegally. None have been formally charged.
The Guardian reports, ‘Police in Vietnam have arrested eight people in relation to the case. Although local authorities did not reveal their identities, they are suspected of being part of a ring responsible for smuggling Vietnamese people to Britain.’