HANOI, Nov 8, 2019, VN Express. All 39 people found dead in a refrigerated truck in the U.K. last month are Vietnamese, the Ministry of Public Security said. They were from Hai Phong City and Hai Duong Province in northern Vietnam, and the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue, it said in a statement released Thursday night, VN Express reported.
The confirmation came after days of coordination between Vietnamese and British authorities to check and compare the victims’ identifying features, and after Caroline Beasley-Murray, Senior Coroner for Essex, where the truck was found, formally identified all of the victims.
Vietnamese and U.K. authorities are cooperating to continue supporting the families and further investigate the incident, it said.
Essex police stated the families of the victims have been notified.
Tim Smith, the senior officer in charge of the enquiry, said in a statement: “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.
“Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores.”
To An Xo, spokesman of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, said how and when the victims would be brought home is up to the U.K. authorities’ decision and depends on their families’ wishes.
“Some families want their loved ones to be cremated before being brought home, some want to have the bodies for traditional funeral procedures. This has to be discussed carefully,” Xo said.
Parents of Nguyen Dinh Luong, one of the victims in the U.K. truck tragedy, burn incense at his altar at their home in Ha Tinh Province, central Vietnam, November 7, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung.
On October 23, U.K. emergency services discovered the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager in a refrigerated container truck at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex County, east of London.
Officials from Vietnam’s Ministries of Public Security and Foreign Affairs left for the U.K. last weekend to facilitate the identification of the victims, after Essex police said they believed the victims were Vietnamese.
35 families from the central Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces have reported missing members and suspected they might be among the deceased. Some of them already received phone calls from the U.K. authorities on Saturday that their children were among the dead victims.
Vietnam police have arrested 11 people suspected to be involved in the smuggling of the victims. They are from Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
British police have charged two men with manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.