|A lorry, in rear, was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, early Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. — PA/VNA Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese Embassy in the UK has said it is ready to offer its support if any of the 39 bodies found in a lorry on October 23 in Essex are confirmed to be from Việt Nam.
The embassy said it is keeping in contact and collaborating with local agencies on the case.
The embassy met with the British Crime Prevention Agency and Essex Police on October 25 and then visited the site where the container was found. The two sides have agreed to work closely together during the investigation and the victim identification processes. The embassy has set up a channel for direct liaison with Essex police.
Identification work following INTERPOL standards is underway and likely to take some time. As of 1pm on October 26 (UK time), no official announcement on the nationality of the victims had been released.
People can contact the Vietnamese Embassy on +44 7713 181501 or Việt Nam’s citizen protection hotline on +84981 8484 84.
In a related development, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered local authorities to establish whether Vietnamese citizens were among the 39 victims.
The PM has assigned the Ministry of Public Security to investigate illegal trafficking and strictly deal with violations.
The PM asked for a report on the case to be submitted to him by November 5.
Essex Police said five people – including two from Northern Ireland – had been arrested on charges of human trafficking and manslaughter.
Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, driver of the lorry faces 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.
However, three have been released on bail until mid-November, the Essex police said on Sunday.
So far, 16 families from rural communes of central provinces Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh have reported to local authorities that they could no longer contact their relatives that are supposed to be en route to the UK.
Police in Hà Tĩnh and Nghệ An provinces on Sunday took hair, fingernail and blood samples from those reporting missing relatives to cross-check with the victims' bodies in the UK.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the 39 deaths is "unimaginable tragedy and truly heartbreaking," adding that he is receiving regular updates from the authorities on the case. — VNS