First bodies of United Kingdom truck victims received by mourning families in Vietnam

First bodies of United Kingdom truck victims received by mourning families in Vietnam

First bodies of United Kingdom truck victims received by mourning families in Vietnam

On 23 October, police found the bodies at the back of a refrigerated lorry in the town of Grays in Essex, eastern England.

Upon arrival at the airport, the 16 bodies were handed over to representatives of localities to be transported home.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his condolences into the families of those victims in a statement earlier this season.

The bodies were flown to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, and will be taken by ambulance to their family homes.

Speaking to AFP from Ha Tinh province, he said the family were "very sad, but happy as finally my son is back".

Police initially identified the victims as Chinese but families in Vietnam later came forward fearful their relatives were on the truck.

The remains of the other victims will be sent back to Vietnam in later trips, but the specific timeline has yet to be announced.

The bodies will be immediately handed over to the families of the migrants upon arriving in their hometowns and the funerals are scheduled to take place on the same day, the ministry said.

The families would have to pay for the repatriation of the bodies, costing up to 2,208 pounds ($2,832.86), according to a Foreign Ministry statement seen by Reuters.

Most hailed from just a handful of central Vietnam provinces, which are among the poorest in the country and where well-entrenched networks of illegal brokers can easily facilitate risky trips overseas.

As dozens of families in Vietnam prepare for the return of their relatives' bodies in the wake of the United Kingdom lorry tragedy last month, more men from Northern Ireland have been charged in relation to their deaths.

The first victims to return home are from Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.

Britain is a top destination for Vietnamese illegal migrants.

Many arrange trips through brokers who promise them well-paid jobs, and end up working in nail bars or on cannabis farms, heavily indebted to the smugglers who organise their trips.

Among the victims was 18-year-old Hoang Van Tiep, the youngest of three siblings who dropped out of school at 15 and left illegally for France a year later, where he worked in a Vietnamese-owned restaurant.

Several people have been detained in connection with the deaths, including the truck driver, Maurice Robinson, a man from Northern Ireland, who faces multiple charges, including 39 counts of manslaughter and human trafficking.

He also admitted acquiring cash that came from criminal conduct.

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