Airport personnel transfer the coffins from the plane to the ambulances waiting to take the victims to their hometowns on November 27, 2019. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Police in Hà Tĩnh Province have launched criminal proceedings against seven people for human trafficking in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese in a lorry in the UK last year.
Seven people, two women and five men, faced allegations of organising illegal emigration or illegal stays in foreign countries, according to the police.
They included Nguyễn Thị Thúy Hòa, 36, from Nghệ An Province, Trần Đình Trường, 35, from Hà Tĩnh, Nguyễn Quốc Thành, 35, from Cần Thơ City and his sister Nguyễn Thị Thúy Diễm, 30, who was living in Ruian City, Zhejiang Province, China.
The four were part of a ring that attempted to smuggle 26-year-old Phạm Thị Trà My from her hometown Nghèn Township in Hà Tĩnh’s Can Lộc District to the United Kingdom, but failed tragically. My’s final message to her family as she died in the lorry was the first vital clue for the UK police to identify the victims in the case.
Others under investigation are Võ Văn Kỳ, 58, Võ Văn Hồ, 68 and Lê Văn Huệ, 53, all from Nghệ An, who ran separate human smuggling rings.
The seven were said to have smuggled a total of 67 Vietnamese from Hải Phòng, Hải Dương, Nam Định, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình and Tây Ninh to European countries.
According to the preliminary investigation, Trường received a request from a Vietnamese citizen in the UK in late August 2019, asking him to take My to France at a cost of US$22,000.
The man then contacted Hòa who was known to have smuggled many immigrants to Europe to make the necessary arrangements for My’s journey.
My’s documents were sent to Thành in Cần Thơ the next month, who acquired a tourist visa to China for the young woman.
My departed for China on October 4 and stayed at a place prepared by Thành’s sister, Diễm. My then continued on to France but died during the final leg of the journey to the UK.
Thành, meanwhile, received a full payment of $22,000 from My’s family as soon as she arrived in France.
All but Diễm were arrested by police. Hà Tĩnh police requested the Ministry of Public Security to ask Interpol to issue a worldwide red wanted notice for Diễm.
British police on October 23 last year discovered the bodies of 31 men and 8 women in the trailer of an articulated refrigerator lorry in Grays, Essex, northeast of London.
The alleged illegal migrants were confirmed as Vietnamese nationals on November 8, among whom 21 came from Nghệ An. Another 10 were from Hà Tĩnh, three each from Hải Phòng and Quảng Bình while Thừa Thiên-Huế and Hải Dương each had one victim. — VNS