Vietnam has said human traffickers must be strictly dealt with as the Southeast Asian country was informed that some of its citizens were among the 39 people who were found dead in a truck container in the United Kingdom last month.
Le Thi Thu Hang, Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in a statement on Saturday that Britain told the Vietnamese embassy that unidentified Vietnamese citizens were among the victims.
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“Vietnam strongly condemns human trafficking and considers it a serious crime; traffickers must be strictly dealt with,” Hang said.
British police said on Friday they believe all 39 people found dead in the back of a truck in Essex near London on October 23 were Vietnamese.
Hang said in the statement that Vietnam was working closely with British police to verify victims’ identities and called on other countries to cooperate in combating human trafficking crimes.
“This is a humanitarian tragedy,” Hang said. “We are deeply saddened and we would like to share our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish them to overcome this great pain and loss soon.”
DNA samples were collected from families in Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces in central Vietnam to help with victim identification.
“I think my son could be among the 39 dead,” Nguyen Dinh Gia told AFP news agency on Saturday from Ha Tinh province where he has been anxiously waiting for news about Nguyen Dinh Luong.
Police in Vietnam arrested two people in central Ha Tinh province and summoned others for questioning on Friday on suspicion of involvement in the truck deaths.
The 25-year-old Northern Irish driver of the refrigerated truck has been charged in the UK with manslaughter, money laundering and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
In Dublin, another Northern Irishman appeared at Ireland’s High Court for the start of extradition proceedings to bring him to Britain in connection with the incident.
British police have also said they want to speak to Ronan and Christopher Hughes, two brothers in the haulage business from Northern Ireland.
Three other people have been arrested and released on police bail.