UK police arrest two more for truck disaster that killed 39 Vietnamese

By Hoang Phong   February 12, 2020 | 01:08 am PT
UK police arrest two more for truck disaster that killed 39 Vietnamese
Police are seen at the scene where 39 bodies were discovered in a truck container, in Grays, Essex, Britain, October 23, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Hannah McKay.
The British police have arrested two more men on suspicion of involvement in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese in a refrigerated truck last October.

An unidentified 22-year-old man was arrested in Northern Ireland last Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration. He is in custody in Essex.

The British police joined hands with German authorities to arrest Gheorghe Nica, 43, who had a European arrest warrant, at Frankfurt Airport, on Wednesday last week.

Nica appeared in court on Saturday and was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. He is due to reappear in a London court on March 16.

The Essex police recently completed post-mortems and are awaiting the final reports for all 39 victims.

The provisional cause of death in the refrigerated container truck in Essex on October 23 was a combination of hypoxia and hyperthermia (overheating) in an enclosed space, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Maurice Robinson, the truck driver from Northern Ireland, admitted last November to plotting to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property.

British authorities are also trying to extradite Eamonn Harrison, 23, from Ireland on charges of manslaughter, human trafficking and immigration offenses. He is due at the Dublin High Court on Wednesday.

"Our teams are continuing to progress hundreds of lines of enquiry and are working with the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies from across the globe to further their lengthy and complex investigation," the Essex police said.

Last November authorities released the identities of all 39 Vietnamese killed. The youngest were 15 years old and the oldest was 44. Their remains were brought home later that month.

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

Last year the British police arrested seven people for their involvement in the disaster. In Vietnam, police have arrested 11 people in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces for suspected involvement in human trafficking.

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