The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

UK police say 39 found dead in truck were Chinese

UK police say 39 found dead in truck were Chinese

UNITED KINGDOM: British police yesterday (Oct 24) revealed that 39 people found dead in a truck near London are believed to be Chinese nationals, in a case that has triggered national outrage over the people trafficking business.


Friday 25 October 2019, 10:01AM

Emergency workers discovered the bodies early Wednesday inside the refrigerated container of a truck parked in an industrial area east of London, shortly after it had arrived on a ferry from Belgium.

Police are conducting the country’s largest murder probe in more than a decade into what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an “unimaginable tragedy”.

The local police force, who have arrested the truck’s driver on suspicion of murder, said eight of the dead were women and 31 were men.

“All are believed to be Chinese nationals,” Essex Police said in a statement.

China’s foreign ministry said its embassy staff in London were heading to the scene “to verify this situation”.

An embassy spokesperson said Chinese authorities had read the reports with a “heavy heart” and were in close contact with police “to seek clarification and confirmation”.

The deaths echoed the discovery of 58 Chinese immigrants hidden in a Dutch truck in the English port of Dover in 2000. Only two survived.

“It (has) happened elsewhere but it makes you more shocked that it could happen in your area,” May Lovett, a 33-year-old owner of a cafe by the local docks, told AFP.

“I don’t know how people can be so evil,” added Rashda Imran, a mother living in the area 18 years.

Northern Ireland connection

With the help of immigration officials and the National Crime Agency (NCA), Essex Police are leading the biggest murder probe in Britain since the 2005 London terror attacks that killed 52 people.

Its officers searched three properties in Northern Ireland overnight in connection with the investigation.

The addresses are believed to be linked to the arrested truck driver, a 25-year-old man from the province, who police have remanded in custody until Friday.

Police said a coroner would try to establish the cause of death of the 39 victims, before investigators then attempt to identify each individual.

Belgian probe

The container section of the articulated lorry came by ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge into Purfleet on the River Thames estuary – a crossing that takes nine to 12 hours.

QSI International School Phuket

Prosecutors in Belgium have launched their own probe and confirmed Thursday the container had on Tuesday passed through Zeebrugge, one of the world’s busiest ports for cargo on trucks.

“It is not yet clear when the victims were placed in the container and whether this happened in Belgium,” the federal prosecutor’s office said.

It added that its investigation “will focus on the organisers of and all other parties involved” and be carried out in close cooperation with Britain.

Essex Police said the tractor unit of the truck entered Britain on Sunday on a ferry from Dublin to the Welsh port of Holyhead.

They had earlier said they believed the tractor unit originated in Northern Ireland.

The vehicle had licence plates issued in Bulgaria after it was registered there in 2017 by an Irish citizen, according to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

He said the unit had not entered Bulgarian territory since and there was “no connection with us”.

More Chinese migrants?

In another incident Wednesday, police in Kent in southeast England said they had discovered nine people stowed away inside another truck, after stopping the vehicle on a motorway.

After precautionary medical checks, they were handed over to immigration officials.

The NCA warned in its last annual report that traffickers “favour hard sided refrigerated lorries to transport migrants to the UK”.

It also said Belgium had become “a major focus for people smugglers” targeting Britain.

Similar cases have also occurred in continental Europe.

In August 2015, the bodies of 71 migrants including a baby girl were found piled up in the back of a poultry refrigerator lorry abandoned in Austria.

Hua Po, a Beijing-based analyst of Chinese migration, said the flow of Chinese workers to Europe has increased as “China’s own policy has become more and more conservative and closed” under President Xi Jinping.

“The survival of private enterprises is becoming more and more difficult, resulting in an increase in the number of unemployed people,” Po told AFP.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Three more cases of suspected coronavirus under observation in Phuket

Wuhan cancelled flights, there is locking down on 32 million people, and Phuket airport Chief takes ...(Read More)

Chinese New Year sparks full alert for coronavirus

DeK, there is not such thing as a safe place away from Coronavirus. It is spreading all over the wor...(Read More)

Chinese New Year sparks full alert for coronavirus

@K. Good to hear you are in a different time zone now and therefore in a save zone far away from the...(Read More)

Prayut warns ‘Big Joke’ to behave

It seems that 'Big Joke' had a point, complaining about government officials far to much ove...(Read More)

Indian tourists rescued miles offshore from Phi Phi on capsized kayak

"I am presently in different time zone.." Yes,sure you are !...(Read More)

Highways Department targets slow drivers

When car and trucks are parked on the road in the left lane the road is effectively a one-lane road....(Read More)

After 30 years in Phuket, Cambodian man arrested with fake Thai ID card

Hope they let the poor guy stay. Ambition, risk-taking, and law-abiding hard work for those born int...(Read More)

China virus toll jumps to 25 dead with 830 confirmed cases: govt

China now locks down on at least 30 million people. There are already hospitals turning away corona...(Read More)

Chinese New Year sparks full alert for coronavirus

@Tomothy Yes, I just use the scroll bar to avoid all posts by K. Easy....(Read More)

China virus toll jumps to 25 dead with 830 confirmed cases: govt

Last news: In Hong Kong 3 death, about 190 in hospitals. Coronavirus spread rapidly. Present medical...(Read More)