Police in Vietnam and Ireland have made three new arrests in the sprawling investigation into the deaths of 39 people found in a refrigerated truck container in southeast England last week.
Two people suspected of organising a people-smuggling operation in Vietnam were arrested in Ha Tinh province following reports from 10 families there of missing relatives, VTV television reported on Friday.
Colonel Nguyen Tien Nam, deputy chief of Ha Tinh provincial police in central Vietnam, was quoted as saying the suspects were directly involved in the case in which people paid smugglers to be taken to the United Kingdom and are now feared to be among the bodies found in the container.
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Police said the suspects have been organising people smuggling in the area for several years.
The pair were accused of “organising and brokering for other people to go abroad and stay abroad illegally”, according to aHa Tinhpolice statement.
In Ireland, a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the October 23 discovery in an industrial park in Essex, east of London.
Essex police in Britain, who issued the European Arrest Warrant on which he was arrested, started extradition proceedings to bring Eamonn Harrison, of Newry in Northern Ireland, to the UK to face charges of manslaughter.
A spokesman for the Dublin High Court said Harrison appeared in court on Friday. He was ordered to be held until a hearing on November 11.
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The bodies of the victims were found in a refrigerated trailer on October 23 in Essex after the container arrived from Zeebrugge in Belgium.
The investigation is gathering speed, but authorities have thus far been unable to identify the victims or say exactly where they came from.
Police initially said the victims were from China, but the focus shifted to Vietnam when families there reported that they had not heard from loved ones who were in transit at the time.
DNA samples have been taken from relatives in central Vietnam to help with the complex process of confirming the victims, but so far none of the dead have been officially identified.
The 25-year-old driver of the truck, Maurice Robinson from Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.
British police on Friday asked two other suspects, brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, to turn themselves in.