UK police believe 39 victims in Essex lorry were Vietnamese nationals
Updated 14:57, 02-Nov-2019

Essex police said on Friday they have identified some of the victims of the lorry container deaths case and believe the 39 victims are all Vietnamese nationals.

According to a statement from Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, an officer in overall charge of the investigation into the deaths of 39 men and women discovered at Grays, Essex on October 23, Essex Police is working to advance in the investigation and identify all the victims.

"At this time, we believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals, and we are in contact with the Vietnamese Government. We are in direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK, and we believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores," he said.

However, the confirmatory evidence is still being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide. "As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims. We will continue to co-operate closely with the Vietnamese Government, and others, to identify the victims and offer our support to all those affected by this tragedy," the statement added.

The police continue to appeal to anyone who has information that may assist in identifying the victims.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh message was published on Saturday after British authorities' confirmation of Vietnamese victims among the 39 dead in Essex lorry. 

"There were Vietnamese believed to be among 39 migrants who were found dead in a lorry in Essex. With deepest sorrows, I would like to extend deep sympathy with & sincere condolences to families of the victims," he tweeted, adding Vietnam will continue working closely with British authorities on the case.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Le Thi Thu Hang, said in an announcement released on Saturday that Vietnam is deeply saddened.

Currently, the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and the British police agencies are actively working together to verify the identity of the victims suspected of being Vietnamese nationals and publish the information soon, the spokesperson said, appreciating the British government and relevant agencies for actively conducting the examination, providing information and working closely with Vietnamese authorities. 

"Vietnam strongly condemns human trafficking, considers it a serious crime that must be punished properly," Hang said, calling on other countries in the region and the world to step up cooperation in the prevention and combat of human trafficking, so as not to repeat the same tragedies. 

"We hope that the British side will complete the investigation of the case soon, severely punishing those responsible for this tragedy," Hang said.