|The four victims of the fire at Bismark House Mill, Oldham, Greater Manchester. — Photo courtesy of Greater Manchester Police|
MANCHESTER — Greater Manchester Police on August 4 (local time) announced the identities of four Vietnamese citizens who were reported missing in a blaze on early May 2022, at Bismark House Mill, Oldham, Greater Manchester.
Police said the four were Chu Van Cuong, 39, Nguyen Van Uoc, 31, Nguyen Van Duong, 29, and Le Thanh Nam, 21. Their families had lost contact with them.
Cuong arrived in the UK in June 2019. He maintained regular contact with his wife and children, but they have not heard from him since Saturday, 7 May 2022.
Uoc also maintained regular contact with his wife, but she has not heard from him since 7 May, at which time he said he was at a mill.
Duong arrived in the UK approximately 12 months ago. He last contacted his family around three months ago, at which time he said he was residing in ‘an abandoned house’ while looking for work.
Nam arrived in the UK in January 2022. He last contacted his family on Wednesday 4 May 2022, at which time he said he was residing in ‘a derelict house’ in ‘Dam’, believed to be Oldham, whilst looking for work.
Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, GMP’s Victim Identification lead, said: “Our thoughts remain with Cuong, Uoc, Duong and Nam’s loved ones. Specially-trained officers have been in direct contact with them and continue to make every effort to ensure they are fully updated and supported in Việt Nam, as they would be in the United Kingdom.
“We are continuing to search Bismark House Mill to ensure the recovery of all human remains and any objects of significance. Meanwhile, the investigation team is following several lines of enquiry relating to the fire and activities at the mill beforehand.
“Though we have reason to suspect that Cuong, Uoc, Duong and Nam may have been in the mill during the fire, we are keeping an open mind with regards to how many people were present and their whereabouts. I, therefore, appeal to them or anyone with information about their whereabouts before or after the fire to contact us. I stress that their safety and welfare is our number one priority.”
“We also continue to appeal for information about the fire or activities at the mill beforehand,” the officer noted.
Minister Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK Tô Minh Thu said that the embassy is keeping in close contact with local police and authorities.
The embassy has also made plans to implement necessary protective measures and post-mortem processes necessary in case the victims are confirmed to be Vietnamese citizens, Thu said.
Vietnamese citizens who need assistance or have information can contact the Citizen Protection hotline of the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK, telephone +44 7713 181 501. — VNS