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United Kingdom police identify truck victims, say 10 teenagers among 39 dead

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Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2019, 19:03

United Kingdom police say they have formally identified the 39 people found dead in a container truck in southeastern England and notified their families in the apparent people-smuggling tragedy.

It is not clear if the brothers are involved in any people smuggling gangs themselves, but it is understood they may have information connected to the alleged human trafficking incident which led to the 39 bodies found in a lorry in Essex. The victims were from a total of seven different provinces.

Police said last week that all the victims were Vietnamese citizens. The Vietnamese embassy in London said it was "in deep sorrow" over the confirmation that the 31 men and eight women discovered dead in the back of a truck on October 23 were from the southeast Asian country.

The British government is working on a plan to bring the bodies back to Vietnam and to their families.

British police said consultations had begun with Hanoi over repatriation of the bodies.

Following confirmation that the truck victims were Vietnamese, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a letter of condolence to the families of the victims on Thursday.

"Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims' friends and families", said the policeman leading the investigation, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith.

The list was also confirmation that Pham Thi Tra My - who texted her family "I'm dying because I can't breathe" - was among the dead.

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Essex police released the names of the victims - all from Vietnam - discovered inside a shipping container on october 23, in what is believed to be one of the country's most deadly incidents involving people smuggling.

The cabin driver, a 25-year-old Norwegian named Maurice Robinson, appeared before a British court charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and other crimes.

"I'm sorry Mom. My path to overseas doesn't succeed".

Mrs. Pham added: "Mom, I love you and Dad so much!" They say he drove the cab of the truck to Purfleet, England, where it picked up the container, which had arrived by ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

They are also hunting for two brothers from Northern Ireland while Vietnamese police have arrested 10 people there in connection with the deaths.

People traffickers charge up to £30,000 per person for those seeking a better life to be smuggled overseas.

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.