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Vietnam takes DNA samples after UK truck deaths

October 27, 2019

Vietnamese police have taken hair and blood samples from potential relatives of the victims found in the back of a lorry near London last week. Catholic churches held candle-lit prayers in northern Vietnam.

Picture of Anna Bui Thi Nhung, a Vietnamese person suspected dead
A relative looks at an image of Anna Bui Thi Nhung on their phone, a Vietnamese suspected to be among dead victims found in a truck in the UK last weekImage: Reuters/Kham

Police in Vietnam said Sunday that they have taken DNA samples from citizens who believe they may be related to some of the 39 victims who were found dead in the back of a truck near London last week.

British police are still struggling to identify the bodies, which were discovered on Wednesday in Grays, Essex, roughly 32 km (20 miles) from central London.

Police in the central Vietnamese province of Nghe An took samples, including hair and nails, from people in order to try and identify the victims, the VNExpress news website said.

Up to 24 Vietnamese families had declared their missing relatives to authorities over the weekend, the website reported.

Britain seeks help from Vietnam to identify four victims

British and Vietnamese authorities are now working together to identify four of the 39 people found dead with the former sending the latter dossiers.

Vietnam's government website quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son as saying the Ministry of Public Security had received files, seeking "verification coordination."

Son said: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing dossiers of possible victims, but until now there have been no grounds to confirm Vietnamese nationals are among the victims."

Man charged

The driver has been charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people

Authorities said 25-year-old Maurice R. from Northern Ireland faces "39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering."

Vietnam Church, candle lit vigil
Vietnamese Catholics attend a mass prayer for the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London. The vigil was conducted in the province of Nghe AnImage: Reuters/Kham

Initially it was believed all the victims were Chinese.

Essex Police, immigration officials and Britain's National Crime Agency said the murder investigation is the largest in the UK since the 2005 London terror attacks, which resulted in the deaths of 52 people.

jsi/aw (AP, Reuters, AFP)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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