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39 migrants found dead ‘were ALL Vietnamese’, police say

39 migrants found dead ‘were ALL Vietnamese’, police say

The 39 migrants found dead in the back of a lorry in an industrial park in the UK are all Vietnamese nationals, police have said.

The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in the refrigerated trailer in the early hours of 23 October, prompting an international effort to trace their identities

Now Essex Police has confirmed they are working with Vietnamese officials after linking a number of the dead to families in the country.

Two people in Vietnam have been arrested since investigations in the country began.

Assistant chief constable Tim Smith of Essex Police 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.”

It comes as further arrests are made in relation to the deaths – including 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison in Ireland who is currently the subject of an extradition request from the UK authorities.

The 22-year-old from Co Down, Northern Ireland, appeared in Dublin High Court on Friday charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, along with human trafficking and immigration offences. He has since been remanded in custody.

In a statement, the Vietnamese Embassy in London sent its “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims – adding that it was “deeply saddened” to discover the victims may have come from the East Asian nation

Its statement added: “The Embassy of Vietnam in London will closely coordinate 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.”

It is still not known how the victims, who police initially believed were Chinese nationals, entered the lorry trailer before it travelled from Belgium to Purfleet, Essex.