The arrests in the central Nghe An province brings the total number of apprehended suspects in Vietnam to 10.
Two other suspects in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province were arrested Friday and another suspect in Ireland has also been charged in connection with the discovery of what authorities believe was an international human smuggling ring.
Candles are arranged in a “39” during a Mass and vigil for the 39 victims found dead inside the back of a truck in Grays, Essex, at The Holy Name and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, east London’s Vietnamese church.
(PA via AP)
Eight women and 31 men – all Vietnamese nationals – were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex on Oct. 23. In a Friday statement, Essex Police said the victims were believed to be Vietnamese nationals.
“Based on what we learn from the suspects, we will actively launch investigations to fight and eradicate these rings which bring people illegally to Britain,” said Nghe An’s police chief Nguyen Huu Cau. “The best thing to do now is to deal with the consequences of the incident and help family members receive the bodies.”
The Vietnam News Agency reported that a delegation of Vietnamese diplomats and police have left for the U.K. to meet with their British counterparts.
The truck’s driver, Maurice Robinson, 25, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. Authorities said Robinson drover the cab of the truck to Purfleet, where it picked up the container, which had arrived by ferry from Belgium.
Two other suspects from Northern Ireland, brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, ages 40 and 34, remain at large. Police have asked them to turn themselves in.
“Today I want to make a direct appeal,” said Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten at a press conference in Belfast. “We need you both to come forward and assist us with this investigation.”
Police believe the brothers are currently in Northern Ireland but said they have links to the Irish Republic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.