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Romanian man sentenced to 3 years behind bars for smuggling 6 Vietnamese into UK

Romanian man sentenced to 3 years behind bars for smuggling 6 Vietnamese into UK

Friday, February 23, 2024, 11:53 GMT+7
Romanian man sentenced to 3 years behind bars for smuggling 6 Vietnamese into UK
Romanian Valeriu Iordatii and the Citroen van where he crammed seven people, including six Vietnamese, in a sleeping compartment in an attempt to illegally smuggle them into the UK on December 16, 2023. Photo: The Standard

A UK court has given a three-year jail term to a Romanian man for hiding six Vietnamese and one Syrian in his van’s one-man sleeping compartment in an attempt to illegally smuggle them into Britain, according to the British Embassy in Vietnam.

Romanian National Valeriu Iordatii, 24, received the sentence from the Chelmsford Crown Court for facilitating illegal entry into the UK, the embassy announced on Thursday.

British authorities provided video evidence showing how Iordatii squeezed the seven migrants into the Citroen’s 8ft x 4ft space before boarding a ferry from the Hook of Holland in the Netherlands to Harwich, Essex County, England on December 16, 2023.

Border Force officers at Harwich International Port searched the van and discovered the seven migrants in the sleeping compartment.  

“If anything had happened on that ferry, seven people would have been unaccounted for and trapped,” said Chris Foster, Deputy Director of Criminal and Financial Investigations at the UK Home Office.

Iordatii claimed he had no idea that the small compartment was filled with people despite it being directly above his head.

The young man claimed that an old friend of his in France offered him a job driving the Citroen to the UK to deliver goods.   

Two of the migrants claimed asylum upon entry, while the remaining five did not and were considered illegal entrants, so they were immediately sent back to the Netherlands, the embassy said. 

Since being treated as a foreign national offender, Iordatii will be deported from the UK after he completes his sentence.

“This shocking case shows that people smugglers are going to increasingly extreme lengths to make their money,” Foster commented, adding that those who abuse the UK’s borders and laws will be caught, face justice, and possibly be removed from the country.

Minister for Illegal Migration Michael Tomlinson stressed that human smugglers only care about earning money from their passengers, not whether those passengers live or die.

“Our message is clear – if you put lives at risk, you will face the full weight of the law and we will ensure you leave the UK as soon as possible,” he stated.

Many similar incidents have been recorded recently in the UK. 

Ipswich Crown Court earlier this month sentenced a man to two years and eight months in prison for illegally smuggling people across the border on an overloaded small yacht.

At the end of January, the Canterbury Court gave a 2.5-year jail term to another man who attempted to illegally bring a Vietnamese woman into the UK by hiding her behind the 4ft x 2ft dashboard of his car.

From early 2023 until 30 November of the same year, British immigration enforcement forces arrested over 246 persons for people smuggling into the country, of which 124 were convicted, according to the UK Home Office.

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Vinh Tho - Binh An / Tuoi Tre News


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