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Police complete identification of 39 Vietnamese truck victims

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By Euronews and Associated Press
Police complete identification of 39 Vietnamese truck victims
Copyright  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls   -  

Police have formally identified all 39 Vietnamese people found dead in the back of a truck near London in October and their families had been notified.

"This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese police colleagues to support the families of those victims," said Essex Police Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, the senior officer in charge of the enquiry.

The full list of 39 Vietnamese victims in the truck was published by Essex Police.

Detectives previously said the victims — eight women and 31 men — are all "believed to be Chinese nationals," but the claim was called into doubt after the Vietnamese embassy said they had received calls from families fearing their relatives were on the truck.

DNA samples were taken from families in Vietnam who suspected their relatives may have been a,omg the dead.

The October 23 discovery, in Grays, near the River Thames port of Purfleet, has put a spotlight on human trafficking.

Police charged 25-year-old Maurice Robinson from Northern Ireland with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. They say he drove the cab of the truck to Purfleet, where it picked up the container, which had arrived by ferry from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Three other people have been released on bail pending further investigation in the case.

In Ireland, a 22-year-old man was arrested on a British warrant. Essex Police said they have started extradition proceedings to bring him to the U.K. to face charges of manslaughter in the case.

Several other suspects have been arrested in Vietnam.