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Vietnam to repatriate 39 nationals found dead in UK truck

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Vietnam said Thursday it was working to repatriate 39 bodies now identified as Vietnamese nationals found in a truck near London last month, in a case that exposed the deadly risks of illegal migration to Europe.

The country’s embassy in London said a government delegation already in Britain was coordinating with officials to get the bodies home “at the earliest time”.

It came as British police confirmed that those discovered in the refrigerated truck on October 23 all came from the southeast Asian nation.

Hoang Thi Ai, mother of 18-year old Hoang Van Tiep who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in the truck

Police initially said the victims were believed to be Chinese nationals, until several Vietnamese families came forward to say they feared their relatives were on board.

Bui Phan Chinh, father of 37-year-old of Bui Phan Thang who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain

In a letter obtained by AFP to the families of the 31 men and eight women who died, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the tragedy had caused them and Vietnamese people worldwide “endless pain” and vowed to “soon bring the victims back to the homeland”.

Essex Police, the local force investigating last month’s gruesome discovery, said a coroner had now formally identified all the victims and their families in Vietnam had been informed.

“This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese police colleagues to support the families of those victims,” Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith said.

“Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores.”

One Vietnamese man, Nguyen Dinh Gia, told AFP on Thursday that officials had called him the day before to confirm that his son, Nguyen Dinh Luong, was among the victims.

“Our hope now is the body of my son will be brought home soon,” he said.


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