39 Vietnamese truck victims identified: UK police


British police said Thursday all 39 victims found dead in a truck in Essex last month have been identified and their families notified.

The identifications is an “important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese Police colleagues to support the families of those victims,” senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said in a statement.

“It is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information,” she said.

The statement said police continue to lead the investigation with the National Crime Agency and security officials in Europe.

The 39 victims were found dead in a truck Oct. 23 in Grays, Essex, in southeastern England, on the banks of the Thames River.

The driver was remanded in custody after his first appearance in a British court.

Maurice Robinson, 25, a British citizen from Northern Ireland, appeared at the opening hearing of the case in Chelmsford Magistrates Court via video link.

The court decided to keep him in custody until Nov. 25, where he is expected to appear at Old Bailey.

Robinson is charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

He was arrested shortly after the discovery of the bodies in a refrigerated trailer.

British authorities initially said all the victims were Chinese, but it later emerged that at least five are thought to be of Vietnamese origin.

British police detained a total of four people, including Robinson, shortly after the discovery but three have since been released on bail.

The truck is registered in Bulgaria, but it has not been in the country since 2017 and is registered by a Northern Irish citizen, according to local authorities.

A Belgian federal prosecutor has also opened an inquiry into the deaths.

In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a truck container in Dover, England. A Dutch driver was jailed for manslaughter in 2001.
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