Thursday, October 24, 2019

UK police say all 39 people found dead in the back of a truck in Essex were Chinese

Police have said the 39 people found dead inside a tractor-trailer at an industrial park in southeast England “are believed to be Chinese nationals” and that eight of the victims were women.

In one of the country’s biggest ever murder investigations, police carried out raids and searched three properties in Northern Ireland, where the 25-year-old driver of the refrigerated truck is from. Police have detained the driver on suspicion of murder.

Britain’s National Crime Agency said it was working to identify “organized crime groups who may have played a part.”

The bodies of the 39 people were found at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, about 25 miles east of central London. Police have not yet offered an account of what might have happened, but the scene bore the markings of human trafficking.

The Chinese embassy in London said in a statement, “We read with heavy heart the reports about the death of 39 people in Essex, England. We are in close contact with the British police to seek clarification and confirmation of the relevant reports.”

In an update on Thursday morning, police said that the truck itself entered the country via Holyhead in North Wales on Sunday, traveling from Dublin.

Essex Police and Belgian prosecutors said the container part arrived by sea from Zeebrugge, a Belgian port, docking in Purfleet, a small port in Essex on the River Thames, shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.