Two people were arrested in Vietnam and one in Ireland as the UK probes the deaths of 39 migrants discovered in Essex. All victims are now believed to be Vietnamese. Police called on two haulier brothers to come forward.
Dublin's High Court on Friday remanded a 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland, pending possible extradition to Britain, over bodies found in a refrigerated truck near London on October 23.
Police in Vietnam, where the victims are thought to have originated, on Friday said they had detained two people and summoned others for questioning.
Police in the English county of Essex, meanwhile, urged two hauliers — identified as Ronan and Christopher Hughes from Northern Ireland — to help in the probe.
"We urge anyone who has been in contact with them or has any information about where they are to get in contact with us," said leading Essex detective Dan Stoten.
The alleged driver of the truck, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland, has already been charged over the deaths. He faces 39 counts of manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.
Identification still awaited
The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found east of London inside a container that had arrived in Britain from Zeebrugge in Belgium.
Autopsies have been carried out, but no identities or formal causes of death have been released by British authorities.
On Friday, UK police said they believe all of the victims were Vietnamese nationals.
Vietnamese village awaits news
Families in the rural Vietnamese village of Dien Thinh told the Associated Press of fears that two men — aged 18 and 30 — may be among the dead.
Both had last contacted home on October 22. They had lived in France since 2017, and had intended to reach Britain.
One family said it had borrowed the equivalent of $17,500 (€15,700) from a bank to pay for its son, Hoang Van Tiep, to first be smuggled to France. There, he had worked in restaurants, sending money home.
To help him reach England, the family said it had last month paid an additional installment to traffickers.
Since late October, the family said it had not been asked for the second and final payment.
Some migration 'legal,' some not
Truong Cong Suu, the labor department head in the central Vietnamese district where the village of Dien Thinh is located, said about 1,000 residents took legal routes to work overseas each year — normally via registered hiring agencies.
However, a further 200 to 300 went through illegitimate channels, Suu said.