A family in the north-central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh has reported to authorities that their daughter might be one of 39 victims found dead in a truck container at an industrial estate to the east of London on Wednesday.
British police found the bodies of the 39 people, including eight women and 31 men, in the refrigerated container at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, about 32 kilometers from central London, Reuters reported.
Police said the truck was believed to have come from Bulgaria and to have entered Britain at Holyhead in Wales on Saturday.
Essex police said it was the largest murder investigation in the force's history and the victims were all "believed to be Chinese nationals," according to BBC.
However, a Vietnamese family now fears their daughter might be among the victims.
A source close to the family told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday that the 26-year-old Vietnamese woman, Pham Thi Tr. M., had left for China on October 3 with the intention of getting into the UK.
The source also provided a text message believed to be M.’s final exchange with her family, in which the woman bode farewell to her loved ones.
“My journey abroad is not a success. I love you so much. I’m dying because I can’t breathe,” the text reads.
When her family members tried to called M., she did not pick up the phone, the source said.
|The semi-trailer truck where 39 bodies were found in Essex, the UK on October 23, 2019. Photo: Reuters
Tuoi Tre provided British police with photos of M. through a BBC journalist on Friday.
The British police received the photos and began conducting an autopsy on the same day to verify this piece of information.
Vo Xuan Phong, head of the Division of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Can Loc District in Ha Tinh, confirmed to Tuoi Tre on Friday that local authorities had received the report filed by M.’s family about their daughter’s suspected demise.
In the report, M.’s father Pham Van T. said his daughter left Vietnam on October 3 and had traveled through China and France before reaching the UK.
M. was about 150 centimeters tall and weighed around 46 kilograms, T. said.
The 53-year-old father said he is waiting to have his papers approved so he can go to the UK to identify his daughter and bring her body back to Vietnam.
|Authorities work on the scene where 39 bodies were found in the refrigerated container of a semi-trailer truck in Essex, the UK on October 23, 2019. Photo: Reuters
Locals who got wind of the news crowded their house in the small town of Nghen in Can Loc District, Ha Tinh on Friday afternoon.
The mother, 61-year-old Nguyen Thi P., said she had suspected her daughter was among those found dead inside the British container as soon as she read the news about the incident on Wednesday.
Bui Viet Hung, vice chairman of Nghen Town, said M. had worked in Japan under a labor export program before attempting to get into the UK through China.
Some Vietnamese officials who spoke to Tuoi Tre speculate that M. might have used counterfeit papers to be trafficked into Europe as a Chinese national by an organized ring.
A leader of the Ha Tinh Department of Internal Affairs said the agency has received a notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Department informing it that one of the 39 victims might be a Vietnamese national.
The provincial department said it is now working to verify the information and will take necessary steps to repatriate the body of any confirmed Vietnamese victim.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, the Embassy of Vietnam in the UK is working closely with British police to investigate the new development.