8 arrested in Vietnam in Essex truck deaths

Police in Vietnam have arrested eight people in connection with the deaths of 39 people found dead in a truck in England last month, Vietnamese state media reported Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Major General Nguyen Huu Cau also said police in Nge An province, in the north of the country, had coordinated with relevant agencies to collect and test the fingerprints of 21 people “suspected of having relations to the case,” the government’s online newspaper reported Monday.

In a statement on Friday, Essex Police said those in the back of a refrigerated lorry in a UK industrial park in Grays, Essex, 20 miles east of London, were believed to be Vietnamese nationals. Initially, Essex Police said they believed all of the victims were Chinese.

Vietnamese police had arrested two suspects in connection to the deaths on Friday. The deputy director of the Nge An district police department said police suspected the arrested pair may also have been involved in previous missing persons cases.

UK police make an appeal

Also on Friday, a 23-year-old man, Eamon Harrison, appeared in the High Court in Dublin on a European arrest warrant. Essex police said they had started extradition proceedings to bring Harrison to the UK from Ireland so he can face charges of manslaughter, as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.

UK police investigating the deaths have also appealed to two brothers to hand themselves in. Detectives made a “direct appeal” to Ronan and Christopher Hughes to come forward and “assist” the investigation during a press conference in Belfast on Friday.

“Although we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone, we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person,” Detective Chief Inspector of Essex Police Daniel Stoten said. “Talking to Ronan and Christopher is crucial to our investigation, and the sooner we can make this happen, the sooner we can progress and continue with our investigation.”

Last week the driver of the truck, Maurice “Mo” Robinson, 25, appeared in court, charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.