Vietnamese woman suspected killed in UK truck disaster

By Duc Hung    October 25, 2019 | 10:07 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese woman suspected killed in UK truck disaster
The picture of Pham Thi Tra My attached to her father Pham Van Thin's letter to authorities. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung.

A father has reported to Vietnamese authorities that his 26-year-old daughter may have been one of the 39 found dead in a container truck in England.

Pham Van Thin, of Can Loc District in the central Ha Tinh Province, sent a letter Friday to the People's Committee of Nghen Town, saying his daughter was likely one of the 39 people found dead in a container truck in the Waterglade Industrial Park, Grays Town. 

"My daughter, Pham Thi Tra My, left Vietnam on October 3, 2019, then travelled to China, France and England," Thin wrote in the letter, which had My’s photo attached. She was described as 1.5 meters tall and weighing around 46 kilograms.

Thin asked the Nghen People's Committee to verify that he is My’s father, in order to initiate legal procedures to identify and bring his daughter’s body back to Vietnam.

At his home in Nghen Town, Thin’s family members confirmed that he had indeed submitted an application to the authorities to verify that My was missing, but refused to provide further information on her overseas travel.

The Nghen Town People's Committee has passed on Thin’s letter to the Can Loc District's Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, which, in turn, will report to authorities with jurisdiction over the matter, said Bui Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of the committee.

"Thin’s family has three children, of which My is the youngest. My had worked overseas in Japan for three years, and only last month completed procedures to go to China," Hung said.

A senior official of the Ha Tinh Provincial Department of Foreign Affairs, who did not wish to be named, said Friday afternoon that he had received a phone call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Department asking to verify the case of a Vietnamese worker from Ha Tinh Province suspected missing in the UK.

The Ha Tinh Provincial Department of Foreign Affairs has contacted authorities of Can Loc District, where a person has allegedly been reported missing, to verify the information.

According to an authorized source, My had used an emigration ring led by a resident of Nghe An Province to go to China. After getting there, she obtained forged Chinese citizenship documents and left for Europe.

One of My’s relatives has reportedly contacted the Vietnamese Association in the U.K., a non-profit organization, to request their assistance in bringing her body home.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, U.K. emergency services discovered the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager, suspected immigrants, after being alerted that there were people in a refrigerated container truck at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex County, east of London.

Staff of the Chinese Embassy in London have arrived at the scene to help police verify whether the victims were Chinese citizens.

Three people, including truck driver, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, the British police said on Friday, the first indication from officials that the deaths were linked to human smuggling.

In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Dover, Britain’s busiest port. The authorities said they had asphyxiated in the container, in which cooling and ventilation were switched off.

 
 
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