|Hồ Sỹ Quốc is led away by officers following his arrest at an address in Birmingham, UK. Photo courtesy of the National Crime Agency
BIRMINGHAM — A Vietnamese national has appeared in court in the United Kingdom charged with assisting illegal immigration.
Hồ Sỹ Quốc, 21, is accused of helping to smuggle Vietnamese migrants into the UK in the backs of lorries in August and September 2020. He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 12 October.
He was arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), who also this week arrested two taxi drivers suspected of working with a Vietnamese organised crime gang involved in people smuggling.
The first, a 32-year-old man, was detained at his home address in Bolton on Wednesday September 22 on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration
Around £15,000 in cash was seized from the property.
The second, a 40-year-old man living in Kent, was arrested on suspicion of the same offence on Thursday morning.
They were both questioned by NCA investigators regarding their alleged involvement in immigration offences, before being released under investigation.
NCA Branch Operations Manager Paul Boniface said: “Organised immigration crime groups require significant infrastructure – from transport to finance or advertising. These are all things we are seeking to disrupt.”
“People smugglers treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from and are quite happy to put lives at risk in dangerous journeys in the back of trucks or in small boats.
“Protecting life and preventing exploitation are our priorities, and this investigation continues.” — VNS