United Kingdom police identify 10 teenagers among 39 dead in truck container

Clay Curtis
November 9, 2019

Of the 39 victims found in a shipping container parked near the south-east English port of Purfleet on October 23, 10 were under the age of 20 and eight were female.

Ten teenagers including two 15-year-old boys were among the victims whose bodies were found on October 23 in a container in the south-eastern English region of Essex.

Essex Police confirmed yesterday a series of files had been brought before an identification commission with the assistance of Vietnamese police.

Thirty-nine people found dead inside a truck container in southeastern England have been formally identified as Vietnamese nationals, according to Essex police.

While the Vietnamese police have arrested eight people in relation to the case, two people have been charged in Britain over the deaths of the Vietnamese migrants who traveled to the country in hopes of a better life. The victims were from a total of seven different provinces. They were later released on bail, police said.

Officials from Vietnam's Ministries of Public Security and Foreign Affairs left for the United Kingdom last weekend to facilitate the identification of the victims, after Essex police said they believed the victims were Vietnamese.

"It is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information".

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The majority of victims, 20, were from the central Vietnamese region of Nghe An, with another 10 from Ha Tinh.

Some of the relatives who spoke to AFP were anxious about how to repay thousands of dollars of debt their children took on for the ill-fated trip.

Buddhist monks pray at a makeshift shrine in the home of Pham Thi Tra My, one of the 39 who died in a people-smuggling tragedy, discovered in Essex, England.

"I'm sorry Mom. My path to overseas doesn't succeed. My journey overseas doesn't succeed", she wrote. Mom and dad I love you so much! I'm dying because I can't breathe. "Mom, I'm so sorry".

British police have charged the 25-year-old Northern Irish driver of the truck with manslaughter, money laundering and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

The victims were found not long after the container arrived in Britain from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Another victim was Hoang Van Tiep, an 18-year-old from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province, left a year ago for France where he worked as a dishwasher.

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