A Belgian court has jailed the leader of a trafficking operation responsible for the death of at least 15 migrants who were found dead in the back of a lorry on an English industrial estate.
The Bruges court found Vo Van Hong, 45, guilty of running a people-trafficking operation that was responsible for smuggling at least 15 of the 39 migrants – aged 15-44 – found dead in an industrial park East of London and jailed him for 15 years.
31 men and eight women all of Vietnamese origin were found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Grays industrial park after the driver Maurice Robinson opened the sealed container to check on them in October 2019. The lorry had smuggled the migrants from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to England.
15 of the 39 illegal migrants who tragically died from asphyxia and hyperthermia were discovered by authorities to have passed through a Belgian trafficking network headed up by Hong.
Hong’s trafficking network is reported to charge a fee of €24,000 euros ($27,000) per person to often desperate individuals seeking to illegally travel into Europe and then Britain.
Alongside the jail sentence Hong has been given a €920,000 fine and has had €2 million worth of goods associated with criminal enterprises seized, Dutch paper De Standaard reports.
Following the horrific discovery of the dead migrants in 2019, police in Britain, Belgium and Vietnam arrested dozens of individuals connected to the trafficking ring, and seven men, including the driver, have also been jailed for between 3 and 27 years so far in Britain.
Seventeen of Hong’s Belgian accomplices have also been found guilty over their involvement in human trafficking and have been sentenced to between one and ten years in prison.
Reports have surfaced from some of the illegal migrants who have made the deadly journey to Britain suggesting that they were unaware of the conditions in which they were being smuggled into the UK and some have even claimed they have been forced onto unsafe inflatable dinghies at knife or gunpoint by human traffickers.
Illegal Migrants Unhappy with Free Accommodation in 'Racist' UK Want to Return to EU https://t.co/xBqAni6Zct
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