Death of 39 migrants in truck: 15 years imprisonment for smugglers

Status: 01/19/2022 1:14 p.m

Several members of a group of people smugglers have been convicted over the agonizing death of 39 migrants in a lorry in England. The head of the Belgian smugglers’ group has to go to prison for 15 years.

The key figure in a group of people smugglers in Belgium has been sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence for the death of 39 migrants in a truck in Britain. A court in Bruges sentenced the man to 15 years in prison. The people smugglers are said to be responsible for the deaths of 39 people, including minors, on board the truck. The Vietnamese man must therefore also pay a fine of 920,000 euros and around 2.3 million euros will be confiscated.

The accused headed the smuggling network

The Belgian investigators had described the man as the “head of the Belgian cell”. The court also assumed that the 45-year-old headed the smuggling network – “a criminal organization” – in Belgium. Overall, the man is said to have been responsible for smuggling at least 115 people between September 2018 and May 2020.

17 other people were reportedly sentenced to prison terms of between one and ten years.

Victims from poor regions in Vietnam

The death of 39 people from Vietnam in October 2019 caused horror. Their bodies were discovered in Grays, south-east England, in the trailer of a lorry coming from Belgium. They each paid more than 10,000 euros for the crossing.

According to experts, the temperature in the sealed container had risen to 40 degrees. According to the autopsy report, they died, locked in the container, from lack of oxygen and overheating. The migrants therefore had no chance of survival.

The victims came from poor rural areas in Vietnam, where many are risking their lives in hopes of a better life abroad. Once in the UK, they often work illegally on cannabis farms or in nail salons to pay off their debts to traffickers.

Other members of the smuggling group have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the UK, including the truck driver and two other leaders of the smuggling organization.

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