Bodies of UK truck victims must be brought home soon: PM

By Viet Tuan   November 7, 2019 | 07:53 am PT
Bodies of UK truck victims must be brought home soon: PM
Nguyen Tho Hanh, whose brother Nguyen Tho Tuan is one of the victims in the U.K. truck tragedy last month, lights incense at the family's altar in Nghe An Province, central Vietnam, November 7, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged that the bodies of 39 Vietnamese found in a refrigerated truck in the U.K. last month be brought home as soon as possible.

"We have to bring the victims back soon to their homeland, their families, their loved ones," Phuc said Thursday night in a direction for the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, and authorities in the victims' hometowns.

The public security ministry confirmed earlier the same night that all 39 victims found dead in a refrigerated container truck in Essex, U.K., on October 23, 2019, were Vietnamese. They were from Hai Phong City and Hai Duong Province in northern Vietnam, and the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue.

"On behalf of the government, I would like to send my deepest condolences to the grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, children and grandchildren of the victims who died in the faraway U.K. This is not only a painful incident for the families of the deceased, but also for the whole community, for each Vietnamese and every citizen of the world," he said.

The PM asked the foreign ministry to perform due citizen protection measures and thanked U.K. authorities for their investigation into the incident.

He asked the authorities and residents across Vietnam to support the families of the victims to help them overcome their pain.

Phuc condemned the acts of human smuggling and called for other nations to "cooperate to eliminate this especially dangerous crime."

Vietnamese and U.K. authorities are cooperating to continue supporting the families and further investigate the incident. 

Essex police said the families of the victims have been notified.

How and when the victims would be brought home is up to the U.K. authorities' decision and depends on their families' wishes, said To An Xo, spokesman of Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security.

Some families accept to receive the ashes after cremation while others want to have the bodies for traditional funeral procedures, Xo said.

Vietnam police have arrested 11 people suspected to be involved in the smuggling of the victims. They are from Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

British police have charged two men with manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.

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