Khanh Ngoc Nguyen with officers from the National Crime Agency after his arrest in the United Kingdom. — Photo NCA.
HÀ NỘI — A Vietnamese man described by the authorities in Europe as a major people smuggler is behind bars after he was arrested in the United Kingdom.
Khanh Chan, 39, also known by the name of Khanh Ngoc Nguyen, was part of an international trafficking network, actively smuggling people from Việt Nam to Europe between 2015 and 2017.
In September last year, Khanh was jailed for eight years in his absence by a court in Paris after he was convicted of people smuggling.
He was initially thought to be hiding in London, but investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) working with the French authorities tracked him down to an address in Bexhill-on-Sea on the south coast of England.
A European arrest warrant was issued and Khanh was taken into custody. Legal proceedings have begun to extradite him to France to serve his sentence.
Khanh Ngoc Nguyen is led away by officers after he was found hiding at an address in Bexhill-on-Sea on the south coast of England. — Photo NCA.
NCA head of organised immigration crime operations, Steve Reynolds, said: “We believe Chan was a significant player in an organised crime group responsible for smuggling migrants across the globe.
“Working with our partners in France we managed to locate him here in the UK and will now seek his extradition so he can serve a prison sentence for offences he has already been convicted of in a French court.
“People smugglers treat migrants like a commodity, and the tragic events last year in Essex demonstrated how little care for their safety these kinds of gangs have.
“We’re determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised criminal networks involved in this type of offending.”
Khanh was part of a gang that would transport migrants to France, where they would be moved by lorry through the Channel ports into the UK, or onto other countries in Europe.
Last October, in a case not linked to Khanh, the bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals were found in the trailer of an articulated refrigerated lorry in Essex, UK.
After the bodies were identified as from Việt Nam, the Vietnamese government called on all countries to combat such activities to prevent a repeat of the tragic incident. — VNS