Essex lorry deaths: last of bodies returned to Vietnam

Vietnam[1]

Remains of 23 victims arrive in Hanoi following repatriation of further 16 to their hometowns days earlier




Relatives carry the coffin of John Hoang Van Tiep, who was among the dead found in the back of a lorry after being smuggled into Britain.Photograph: Reuters

The remains of the last 23 of 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a lorry near London in October have been brought to Vietnam[2]. The remains of the 23 victims arrived at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi early on Saturday, a local government official said. Seven of the bodies were cremated in Britain before being repatriated, said the official Vietnam News Agency.

The first 16 of the bodies had been repatriated on Wednesday to their home towns in Vietnam where they were received by relatives and friends holding white roses. The discovery of the bodies in the back of a refrigerated truck after being smuggled into Britain has shone a spotlight on the illicit trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the west. Police in Vietnam have arrested 10 people in connection with the deaths.

On Monday the British driver of the truck admitted plotting to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property. In Vietnam poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial rewards are all factors pushing people to leave. Nguyen Dinh Gia, the father of victim Nguyen Dinh Luong, said his son had left home for Britain in “hopes for a better life”.

Gia said after his son’s body was buried on Thursday: “How could I describe how big this loss is for my family … but the return of his body has helped ease the pain.”

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