A fire destroyed the building in May. Last Saturday, human remains were discovered inside the building by construction workers. — Photo courtesy of the Lancashire Evening Post.
LONDON — Representatives from the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK are working with local police following the discovery of human remains in a building in Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say four Vietnamese citizens had been reported missing and investigations are underway to determine if the bodies are those people.
An official from the Vietnamese Embassy has visited the scene of the discovery in the north west of England.
Firefighters were initially called to an address in Oldham on May 7 after a huge blaze broke out. At the time it was not believed anyone was inside the premises.
But on Saturday July 23, demolition staff working on the property discovered human remains.
GMP received a report on Thursday 21 July 2022 that four Vietnamese nationals were missing and may have been involved in a fire.
Tô Minh Thu, Deputy Ambassador of Việt Nam in the UK, said immediately after receiving the information, on July 25, the Vietnamese Embassy in the United Kingdom actively contacted and worked with GMP to discuss the case, process and justification the law supports the verification of victims' identities and nationality.
They are also working with overseas Vietnamese living in the UK.
GMP Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: "Victims and the bereaved are at the forefront of our investigations into deaths. As such, whilst work is ongoing to confirm the identity of the deceased, we are liaising with partner agencies to ensure potential family members in Việt Nam are fully informed and supported.
“This news will understandably impact both the local and wider community. I can reassure members of the public that this has been declared a major incident to ensure both GMP and partner agencies respond to this incident in the most effective way. Also, specialist officers are following every line of enquiry to confirm the identity of the deceased, if anyone else was inside the mill during the fire, and the full circumstances surrounding that fire. Any criminal offences identified as part of their investigation will be immediately and appropriately progressed.
“On behalf of the investigation team, I appeal to anyone with information to contact them directly or, anonymously, via Crimestoppers. They’re particularly interested in hearing from anyone who knows how the building was being used in the lead up to the seventh of May or who has information about the fire itself.”
The embassy also actively plans to implement protective measures, post-processing necessary in case the victim is confirmed to be Vietnamese citizens.
Vietnamese citizens who need assistance or have related information can contact the Citizen Protection hotline of the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK, telephone +44 7713 181 501. — VNS