Irem UZUN -TDO-Vietnamese families are seeking information about their missing loved ones amid growing fears that some of the 39 people who died in a refrigerated lorry in Essex were from the country.Several other families said that their loved ones had travelled via China to Europe, aiming to reach the UK, and that they had also been out of contact since early Wednesday morning, when the victims’ bodies were found in the trailer after being ferried from Belgium to Britain.
In Vietnam, families responded to press reports of the identification of the victims as Chinese by taking to social media and contacting the country’s embassy in the UK with requests for help. It is believed that there are at least six families who fear their loved ones could have died in the container.Text messages from of the victims, 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My, to her mother matched the time of the tragedy and said “I’m dying because I can’t breathe”. She has not been heard from since, a family representative told the Guardian.
The Vietnamese Embassy in London confirmed it had contacted Essex Police about missing people after receiving requests from worried families. “The embassy has not yet received any official confirmation from the British relevant agencies,” a spokesperson said.
Organized Chinese criminals called “snakehead” gangs are well known for people smuggling, prompting some to speculate that they may have a hand in the deaths of those people. Known to employ a variety of transport methods, it has emerged in various court cases that they can charged as much as £25,000 for the service. Although they are promised a better life on arrival, many are forced into slave labour in brothels, car washes or nail bars, to pay the transporting fee to the gangsters.