Smuggler responsible for 39 Vietnamese deaths in UK ordered to pay

By Phan Anh, Duc Trung   January 9, 2023 | 03:29 pm PT
Smuggler responsible for 39 Vietnamese deaths in UK ordered to pay
Ronan Hughes, the ringleader in the smuggling of 39 Vietnamese who died in a truck in Essex, England, in 2019. Photo by Essex police
The human trafficker responsible for the death of 39 Vietnamese on a U.K. truck in 2019 has been ordered to compensate the victims' families with over £180,000 ($218,747).

Ronan Hughes, 43, who is currently serving a jail sentence of 20 years for manslaughter, was told by the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales that his gains from his role in the human smuggling ring – including cash, bank accounts and other assets – would be seized and doled out to his victims’ families, Sky News reported.

Failure to pay out the total of the sum of £182,078.90 would result in two more years in prison, the court said.

The deaths of 39 Vietnamese on a truck in Essex, England, made international headlines back in 2019. The youngest were two 15-year-old boys and the oldest was a 44-year-old man. Their remains were brought home later that year.

Twenty-one of the victims were from central Vietnam’s Nghe An Province, 10 from neighboring Ha Tinh and the rest from Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue provinces in the central region and Hai Duong Province and Hai Phong City in the north.

In 2020, over 20 suspects related to the case were arrested in France, Belgium and Germany. The same year, the Ha Tinh People’s Court convicted seven people associated with the case.

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