News World Vietnamese police arrest eight people in connection with UK truck deaths
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Vietnamese police arrest eight people in connection with UK truck deaths

Vietnam police arrested eight people on Monday in relation to the Essex truck tragedy. Photo: PA
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Police in Vietnam have arrested eight people in relation to the discovery of 39 dead people in a truck near London last month, state media said on Monday night.

British police last week charged two men with manslaughter over the deaths of the group, whose bodies were found inside a container on the truck on October 23.

“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 Nghe An province police chief Nguyen Huu Cau, according to the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

“The best thing to do now is to deal with the consequences of the incident and help family members receive the bodies,” Mr Cau added.

Victim Pham Thi Tra My sent a message to her mother saying she couldn’t breathe, Human Rights Space reported. Photo: Twitter/Human Rights Space

Mr Cau said police were treating the tragedy as a smuggling incident, rather than a case of people-trafficking, according to VNA.

Most of the victims were from the neighbouring provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh, in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, encouragement by authorities, smuggling gangs and environmental disaster all contribute to the wave of migrants.

The arrests come as 41 migrants, mostly Afghans, were found hiding in a refrigerated truck at a motorway in northern Greece, police say.

The migrants were not injured, a police official said, adding that the refrigeration system had not been turned on.

Police stopped the truck on a highway near the northern Greek city of Xanthi on Monday for a regular check.

They arrested the driver and took him and the migrants to a nearby police station for identification.

Greece is currently struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee arrivals since 2015, when more than a million people crossed into Europe from Turkey via Greece.

About 34,000 asylum seekers and refugees are being held in camps on the Aegean islands close to Turkey.

On Friday, Vietnamese police in Ha Tinh said they had arrested two people and summoned others for questioning on suspicion of involvement in the incident.

The discovery of the bodies has shone a spotlight on the illicit trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

The alleged truck driver has already been charged over the deaths, and on Friday detectives said Eamon Harrison, 23, from Northern Ireland, was also accused of 39 counts of manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offences.

A delegation of Vietnamese diplomats and police left on Sunday for Britain, where they were expected to meet with their British counterparts on Monday, Vietnam’s official government website said.

Truck driver Maurice Robinson was arrested on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. Photo: Facebook/Mo Robinson

-AAP

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