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Eight Arrested in Vietnam Over Truck Deaths in Britain

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PHOTO: Vietnam Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said: “Vietnam strongly condemns human trafficking and considers it a serious crime subject to strict penalties.”

Vietnam officials vowed “to fight and eradicate these rings which bring people illegally to Britain.” The authorities are still working to identify the 39 victims.

Police in Vietnam arrested eight people on Monday as investigators continued to trace how 39 people, said to be Vietnamese citizens. The Vietnamese people died in a refrigerated truck in southeastern England on Oct. 23.

The arrests, reported in Vietnam‘s state media, were the latest in what has become a wide-ranging investigation spanning several countries. The police in Vietnam arrested two people on Friday, while the British and Irish authorities have also made a series of arrests in connection with the case.

“Based on what we learn from the suspects, we will actively launch investigations to fight and eradicate these rings which bring people illegally to Britain,” said Nguyen Huu Cau, the police chief of the Vietnamese province of Nghe An, according to Reuters, which quoted the Vietnam News Agency.

The authorities are still working to identify the victims, who were found in Essex and were believed to have been transported through a global human smuggling network.

Global Migrant Trafficking

Thousands of migrants make the dangerous journey each year, enduring brutal conditions and violent treatment as they search for work. There have been several fatal instances of smugglers cramming people into airless trucks, including one left by the side of a highway in Austria in 2015, with 71 people dead inside.

The authorities in Greece found 41 migrants on Monday in the back of a refrigerated truck after a random inspection on a highway in the north of the country, the police said, adding that none of the people were also seriously harmed.

Two drivers have been charged in the case of the bodies discovered in Essex. Maurice Robinson, 25, of Northern Ireland, who was believed to be the driver of the truck that picked up the trailer with the victims inside shortly before the bodies were found, was charged on Oct. 26 with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

The other truck driver, Eamon Harrison, 23, also of Northern Ireland, was charged in Ireland on Friday with 39 counts of manslaughter, human trafficking and also immigration offenses. The police said that he had delivered the trailer to a Belgian port before it was put on a ferry to England.

Migrants Greece and Afghanistan

In the truck found in Greece, there were 39 migrants from Afghanistan, and one each from Iran and Syria, said a police spokesman in Komotini, a city in the northern region of Thrace. The driver, who is Georgian, was detained and faces charges of human trafficking.

The refrigeration system was turned off. Eight of the people in the truck were taken to a hospital as a precaution, the spokesman said.

The Greek police have intensified their checks on vehicles in recent months, particularly near the northern land border with Turkey, as human traffickers step up their operations.

News Source: New York Times