HÀ NỘI — All 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry in the UK have been confirmed as Vietnamese.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc expressed his condolences to the families of the victims in a statement released Thursday evening.
“On behalf of the Government, I would like to send my deep condolences to grandparents, parents, husbands and wives, siblings, children and relatives of the victims in the incident.
“This is not the boundless grief of the victims’ families but of the whole community, of each and every Vietnamese person and the whole world.
“The Vietnamese Government strongly condemns human trafficking and the illegal organisation of migration and calls on countries in the region and the world to continue promoting cooperation and resolutely prevent and combat this especially dangerous kind of crimes.
“The Vietnamese Government highly appreciates authorised agencies of the UK for closely working with Vietnamese partners in handling the incident and expresses thanks to the UK citizens and overseas Vietnamese in the UK and all over the world for sharing and sending condolences to the victims.
“With my deep mercy, I would like to share these huge losses with the victims’ families and ask authorities and people of localities and the whole country to share, encourage and support to help their families soon overcome these huge losses that nothing could make up,” the PM said.
In a statement released Thursday evening, the Ministry of Public Security of Việt Nam said UK authorities had confirmed the 39 migrants found in the refrigerated container on October 23 on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex in the south of England were from Việt Nam.
"After a period of active coordination, examination and comparison of personal identities, at 20:00 on November 7, 2019, the Ministry of Public Security of Việt Nam and the UK law enforcement agency determined 39 victims killed in containers, discovered in Essex, Northeast London, United Kingdom on October 23, 2019 are all Vietnamese.
"The 39 citizens have permanent residence in Hải Phòng, Hải Dương, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Thừa Thiên - Huế.
"The Ministry of Public Security of Việt Nam is very sorry and would like to extend its deepest condolences to the victims' families and hope that the victims' families will soon overcome this great pain and loss.
"Currently, the Vietnamese authorities are urgently working with UK authorities to protect citizens; at the same time, coordinate with UK Police to urgently investigate and clarify the case," the ministry said.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tô Anh Dũng lays a wreath in commemoration of the 39 victims. — VNA/VNS Photo
Essex Police said they have been working with Vietnamese police officers to present cases to Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Essex to verify the identities of the 39 people.
A series of files have been brought before an Identification Commission, and HM Senior Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray has now formally identified all of the victims, and the families of the victims have been notified.
“May I take this opportunity to offer my deepest condolences to the victims’ families,” Beasley-Murray said.
The officer in charge of the enquiry, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith said: “This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese Police colleagues to support the families of those victims.
"It is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information.
"Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores.”
The ministry sent deep condolences to the bereaved families and hoped that they would soon overcome the huge losses.
The Vietnamese Embassy in UK released its own statement late Thursday offering condolences to the victims.
"The Embassy of Việt Nam in London is in deep sorrow over the death of 39 Vietnamese at Essex on the 23rd October 2019.
“Once again, we would like to convey our profound condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families.
"The Embassy will continue coordinate closely with the inter-agency delegation of the Government of Việt Nam which is currently in the UK, the relevant agencies of Việt Nam and the UK to provide consular protection and support for the bereaved families in order to bring their loved ones home at the earliest time.
“Through its statement, the Vietnamese embassy would like to express our sincere thanks to Essex Police and people and other British relevant agencies who have been devoted their times and efforts in coordinating with the us in handling this case,” it said.
Vietnamese agencies are working with their UK partners to carry out citizen protection measures and make further investigations into the case, the ministry said.
In a statement released on Thursday, the UK Ambassador to Việt Nam Gareth Ward said “Essex Police and her Majesty’s Senior Coroner have now confirmed that all 39 victims of the Essex lorry tragedy have been identified as Vietnamese. Each one of the victims has a family and comes from a community here in Vietnam. This is very sad news for us all.
“On behalf of the UK, I want to express my sincere condolences to the victims’ families and friends. The next step will be to ensure that the victims can come home as soon as possible to their final places of rest.”
Authorities in central Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh provinces have arrested 11 people for illegal organisation of migration.
British police have so far charged two men with manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offences. — VNS