(Reuters) - Vietnam said on Saturday that human traffickers must be strictly dealt with as the Southeast Asian country was informed that several of its citizens were among the 39 people who died in a truck container in Britain last week.
“The Vietnamese embassy in Britain was informed by Essex police that there are Vietnamese citizens, unidentified, among 39 victims in the lorry incident,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement posted on its website.
“Vietnam strongly condemns human trafficking and considers it a serious crime; traffickers must be strictly dealt with,” Hang said in the Saturday statement.
British police said on Friday they now believe all 39 people found dead in the back of a truck in Essex near London on Oct.23 were Vietnamese.
Police in Vietnam arrested two people and summoned others for questioning on Friday on suspicion of involvement in the truck deaths.
Hang said in the statement that Vietnam was working closely with British police to verify victims’ identities and called on other countries to cooperate in combating human trafficking crimes.
“This is a humanitarian tragedy,” Hang said.
“We are deeply saddened and we would like to share our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish them to overcome this great pain and loss soon.”
Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Sandra Maler