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Vietnam gov’t to front payment for repatriation of 39 Essex truck victims

Friday, November 22, 2019, 15:45 GMT+7
Vietnam gov’t to front payment for repatriation of 39 Essex truck victims
The semi-trailer truck where 39 bodies were found in Essex, the UK on October 23, 2019. Photo: Reuters

The Vietnamese government will cover the costs of repatriating the 39 Vietnamese victims found dead inside a truck container in Essex, the UK last month and their families will repay the government later, the foreign ministry announced on Thursday.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son told reporters on the sidelines of a National Assembly meeting in Hanoi on Thursday that local administrations will be tasked with collecting money from the families once the bodies have been repatriated.

The government’s willingness to front the cost is meant as a demonstration of its dedication to supporting the victims’ families, Son said.

Vietnam and the UK are still working on the exact details of the repatriation plan, he added.

It will cost the government 2,208 British pounds (US$2,851) to return each body to Vietnam while the ashes of those whose families asked for their loved ones to be cremated will cost 1,370 pounds ($1,770), according to a dispatch issued by the foreign ministry last week.

Individuals and organizations that wish to provide help cover the repatriation cost can either contact the victims’ families or work directly with local administrations in their hometowns, the deputy minister said.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son. Photo: quochoi.vn

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son. Photo: quochoi.vn

Responding to rumors that the UK has offered financial support for the repatriation of the 39 Vietnamese nationals, the foreign ministry's spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on Thursday that Vietnam has not received any information on such support from the British authorities.

Vietnam’s relevant agencies are actively coordinating with British counterparts to assist the victims’ families in accordance with regulations set forth by international law and the laws and customs of Vietnam and the UK, Hang told reporters at a regular press briefing in Hanoi.

British experts familiar with the repatriation of foreign nationals told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper there is no precedent of the British government offering financial support in similar cases.

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