The police in the United Kingdom on Friday named the 39 Vietnamese people who were found dead in a refrigerated truck in the country last month, with the youngest aged just 15 and many of them from the same province.
An Identification Commission, overseen by the coroner for Essex, used fingerprints, DNA, dental records and distinctive body markings such as tattoos and scars to confirm the victims’ names.
Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among the victims whose bodies were found on 23 October in a container in the southeastern English region of Essex.
The majority of victims, 20, were from the central Vietnamese region of Nghe An, with another 10 from Ha Tinh. The victims were from a total of seven different provinces.
One of the youngest was Nguyen Huy Hung, a 15-year-old boy from Nghi Xuan district in Ha Tinh province.
He left his rural village for Britain where his parents both live. His sister, who lives in South Korea, posted on Facebook that her younger brother was missing.
Another victim was Hoang Van Tiep, an 18-year-old from Dien Chau district in Nghe An province, who left a year ago for France where he worked as a dishwasher.
On 21 October, two days before the truck was found, he wrote to his family asking for $13,000 to pay to smugglers for his trip to the UK. That was the last the family heard from him.
He had travelled to France with his cousin, Nguyen Van Hung, 33, who was also identified as a victim. He got a falsified passport last year and left without telling his parents.
Speaking on the discovery, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, who is leading the investigation, said: “Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims’ friends and families.
“We have worked closely with the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Vietnamese Authorities to identify and locate their families.”
The British and Vietnamese governments are working together to repatriate the bodies, the police said.
Meanwhile, the truck driver Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, has appeared in court charged with offences including 39 counts of manslaughter.
Extradition proceedings have also begun against 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison, who was arrested in Dublin on a European Arrest Warrant.
Police are also seeking two brothers from Northern Ireland, Ronan and Christopher Hughes, who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking.
There have been 11 arrests in two provinces of Vietnam in connection with the deaths.