Lorry deaths: Eight people arrested in Vietnam

Vietnamese police have arrested eight people over the deaths of 39 people found inside a lorry trailer in Essex last month.

“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 state media.

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

Two people were previously arrested in Vietnam on Friday and others were taken in for questioning over the incident.

Mr Cau said the tragedy was being treated as a smuggling incident rather than a case of people trafficking.

British police have charged two men with manslaughter over the deaths, including alleged truck driver Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland.

Vietnamese officials arrived in the UK on Sunday armed with DNA samples and essential documents to help identify victims.

More from Essex Lorry Deaths

According to local media, minister of public security To Lam said: “The ministry has assigned a set of tasks, of which the foremost priority is to rapidly confirm the victims’ identities.

“If a Vietnamese national is identified, we will try to bring them home in the fastest way possible.”

Anna Bui Thi Nhung (L) and Tra My, both from Vietnam, are feared to be among the victims
Image: Two of the suspected victims, Anna Bui Thi Nhung (left) and Tra My

The family of 26-year-old Tra My, who sent a series of text messages to her parents saying she “couldn’t breathe”, told Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre they had confirmation she was among those killed.

However, Essex Police has not publicly confirmed the identities of any of the victims.

The force has said it believes all of the 39 victims are from Vietnam and officers are in “direct contact” with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK.

Detectives are now waiting for “confirmatory evidence” so a case can be presented to the coroner.

“This evidence is being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide. As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims,” police said in a statement.

Priest, Anthony Dang Huu Nam on lorry deaths.
‘There were 100 people on their way to new lives’

Most of the victims are believed to be from the impoverished provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh in north-central Vietnam.

Police in the two provinces received 34 missing persons reports between 24 October and 1 November.

Three families later said they had managed to get in contact with their loved ones who were thought to be missing.

It has not yet been confirmed how many of the Vietnamese nationals reported missing were among those connected to the Essex lorry deaths.

UK police are now urging Ronan Hughes, 40, and his brother Christopher, 34, from Armagh in Northern Ireland, to hand themselves in as they are believed to have links with the haulage and shipping industries.

They are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.

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