|Minister of Public Security Gen. To Lam (Photo: VNA)
Two separate groups of public security and foreign affairs officials departed for the United Kingdom at the weekend, following news that all victims in the Essex lorry tragedy were believed to be Vietnamese.
Minister of Public Security Gen. To Lam confirmed on November 4 morning that the ministry’s mission had arrived in London the previous day.
“The ministry has assigned a set of tasks, of which the foremost priority is to rapidly confirm the victims’ identities,” Lam told reporters on the sidelines of the National Assembly’s ongoing meeting.
“Our mission has brought along various essential documents and DNA samples to match and cross-check with those of the UK side to reach a final conclusion.”
The minister said that the Government would implement citizen protection measures as soon as Vietnamese nationals were confirmed as being involved in the case.
“If a Vietnamese national is identified, we will try to bring them home in the fastest way possible,” Lam said.
He added that the mission could only send their first working report back to Vietnam at 3pm on November 4 at the earliest due to the time difference.
The authorities so far are yet to confirm how many missing persons reported by Vietnamese families were connected to the Essex lorry case, the minister said.
“Families who lost contact with their children all assumed they could be among the 39 victims. But after a few days, some families found out that their children were still in Vietnam or had gone to another country,” Lam said.
Police in the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh received 34 reports of missing persons between October 24 and November 1. Three families in Nghe An, however, on November 2 announced that they managed to contact their thought-to-be-missing members who were abroad.
In a statement late on November 2 (UK time), Essex police said they believed the victims in the Essex lorry case were Vietnamese, adding that they have identified some of the victims and have contacted the Vietnamese Government and some families in the UK and Vietnam.
The confirmatory evidence needed to formally present cases to HM Senior Coroner for consideration has not yet been obtained, they said.
"This evidence is being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide. As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims,” said the statement.
Essex police will continue to cooperate closely with the Vietnamese Government and others to identify the victims and offer support to all those affected by this tragedy.VNA