Five people were arrested in the investigation into the discovery of 39 people dead in the back of a truck.
Investigation “fast forward”, according to the British police. Five people were arrested in the investigation into the discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated truck in Grays, near London, United Kingdom. The police have a time evoked victims of Chinese nationality, but Vietnamese families fear that their children are among the victims. The police are still trying to identify the bodies and reconstruct the path of the container. Franceinfo takes stock of the progress of the survey.
Victims still need to be identified
The victims are 31 men and eight women, according to British police. After initially suggesting that they were Chinese nationals, the authorities are now more cautious. A spokeswoman for the police said Friday that the identification process was not complete, without further details.
Since Friday, several Vietnamese families have expressed their fear of hearing that their children are among the victims. The Vietnamese Embassy in London reported being contacted by concerned parents and have requested information from the British police.
Nguyen Dinh Gia, the father of a 20-year-old Vietnamese, told AFP he received a chilling call a few days earlier. His interlocutor told him: “Qsomething unexpected happened “. The family of Pham Thi Tra My, 26, shares this concern. The young woman sent a message to her mother explaining that she could not “more breathe”, that she was “dying”, told his brother to AFP. These two families are from Ha Tinh, a very poor region of Vietnam, from which many migrants leave, AFP said.
The investigators began autopsies on Friday to determine the exact causes of the death of these 39 migrants. Then can start the work of identification of the bodies. “We have agreed with the Vietnamese embassy to change fingerprints”said the British police, Saturday, October 26. “Victim identification will take time.” The Vietnamese Prime Minister, for his part, announced that he had asked for an investigation into the affair.
Five people were arrested
The driver of the truck is the first to have been arrested. He was still in custody on Friday. He is 25 years old and comes from Northern Ireland. According to the British media, this is Mo Robinson, a resident of Portadown, County Armagh.
Police announced three more arrests on Friday in this investigation that “fast forward”. A 48-year-old Northern Irishman has been stopped at London Stansted Airport. A 38-year-old man and a woman, both from Warrington, in the north of England, were also arrested. All are suspected of human trafficking and homicide. According to BBC (in English), the couple, interviewed by the media before his arrest, “denied having anything to do with the truck”, but still recognized to have “sold the previous year”.
A fifth suspect, a man in his 20s, was arrested on Saturday morning in Ireland, according to British media reports and Reuters. Originally from Northern Ireland, he was arrested in the port of Dublin, where he arrived on a ferry from France, says the public channel TEN.
The BBC (in English) adds that three properties have been searched in Northern Ireland. The National Agency against Crime looks for possible links with the “organized crime”.
The police study the GPS data of the container
Global Trailer Rentals (GTR), based in Dublin, has confirmed that it owns the refrigerated trailer. She stated that she rented it to a customer on October 15 for 275 euros per week. She also explained that this trailer was equipped with a GPS recorder, the data of which was provided to the investigators. Citing unnamed sources, the Guardian (in English) claims that this GPS data shows that the trailer traveled between the United Kingdom and the mainland between 16 and 22 October. It has passed through several cities in Belgium and France, including Dunkirk.
The container of the truck entered the British territory on the night of Tuesday 22 to Wednesday, October 23, in Purfleet, a port on the Thames. He came from Zeebrugge, Belgium, according to British police. “We do not know how long (the container) stayed in Belgium “said the spokesman of the Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van Duyse.
Authorities first reported entry into British territory the previous Saturday at Holyhead on the west coast of Britain. Only the “tractor” part of the truck would actually have taken that route. The truck, registered in Bulgaria in 2017, has not returned to the country since, according to the Bulgarian authorities.
The investigation continues in Belgium
The Belgian federal prosecutor also opened an investigation, saying ignore when and where the victims entered the container. According to the BBC, the Belgian authorities are trying to find the driver who transported the trailer to Zeebrugge. “We would like to make arrests as soon as possible”said a spokesman for the prosecution.
The officials of the port of Zeebrugge informed the Guardian (in English) that six sniffer dogs and CO2 detectors make it possible to check whether people are hiding in non-refrigerated trucks. On the other hand, these controls are not applied to refrigerated containers, which must respect the cold chain. X-ray controls only cover one percent of these trailers.
No containers are inspected for signs of human heat, they say. “The terminal is surrounded by gates and controlled by cameras and surveillance teams, explains the harbor master. We therefore consider that there is no one (…) and that there is no need to open the container. Because if you open it and it contains butter or meat, (…) we contaminate it. “