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All 39 migrants found dead in lorry were Vietnamese, UK police say

Investigators initially believed the migrants were of Chinese origin.

Police examine the truck where 39 migrants were found dead in Grays, Essex last week
Police examine the truck where 39 migrants were found dead in Grays, Essex last week
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

ALL 39 MIGRANTS found dead in the back of a lorry are believed to be Vietnamese nationals, Essex police have said.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith said on Friday evening: “At this time, we believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals, and we are in contact with the Vietnamese Government.

“We are in direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK, and we believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores.”

“The confirmatory evidence needed to formally present cases to HM Senior Coroner for her consideration has not yet been obtained.

“This evidence is being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide. As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims.”

Smith said specially trained people, supported by Vietnamese interpreters, were manning its dedicated hotline between 9am to midnight, seven days a week, for people seeking to be in touch about the incident.

In a statement, the Vietnamese Embassy in London sent its “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims.

It said it was “deeply saddened” that Essex Police’s initial findings were that the victims may be Vietnamese.

“Specific identities of the victims still need to be identified and confirmed by the relevant authorities of Vietnam and UK,” the embassy said.

Its statement added: “The Embassy of Vietnam in London will closely co-ordinate with the relevant authorities of Vietnam and UK to support the families of the Vietnamese victims, if any, to bring their loved ones home.”

“We strongly condemn the inhuman activities of the traffickers of illegal immigrants that have caused such a tragedy for the victims and their families.

“Vietnam will work closely with the UK to bring the criminals to justice and find effective measures to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again in the future.”

Earlier today, it emerged that police in Vietnam have arrested two people for trafficking in connection with the deaths.

British police have arrested four people over the tragedy and are now seeking to question two brothers from Northern Ireland who have links to a road-haulage and shipping business.

Comments are closed as criminal proceedings are underway. Additional reporting by Stephen McDermott.

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