39 people found dead in truck near London were Chinese, police confirm


39 people found dead in truck near London were Chinese, police confirm
Police have launched a murder investigation in southeast England after 39 people were found dead in a truck container at an Essex industrial park. PHOTO | CNN

British police have confirmed that the 39 people who were found dead in a truck container near London on Wednesday are of Chinese nationality.

According to paramedics and police handling the matter, the deceased include 31 men and eight women.

Reuters reports that the truck driver, a 25-year-old man said to be from Northern Ireland, has since been detained on suspicion of murder.

The truck, which was heading to Essex in London, has since been moved to a secure site at nearby Tilbury Docks where the bodies can be recovered and further forensic work undertaken to establish what killed the victims.

The 25-year-old is said to have driven the lorry from Bulgaria and entered the country through Holyhead on Saturday.

Illegal immigrants have for years attempted to reach Britain stowed away in the back of trucks, often seeking to reach the United Kingdom from the European mainland.

Britain’s biggest illegal immigrant tragedy was reported in 2000, when 58 Chinese nationals were found dead in a tomato truck at the southern port of Dover.

London police said the process of identifying the victims would be a lengthy exercise.

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