Vietnamese teenager to be extradited over Essex migrant deaths


In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 British Police forensics officers work on a lorry, found to be containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London. The lifeless bodies of the migrants -- aged between 15 and 44 -- were discovered inside a sealed container at a port near London in October 2019. A Vietnamese teenager accused of being a key "organiser" in the fatal people-smuggling operation which saw 39 migrants suffocate in the back of a container on its way to Essex has lost his appeal against extradition. - AFP

HANOI/LONDON, April 10 (dpa): A Vietnamese teenager accused of being a key "organiser" in the fatal people-smuggling operation which saw 39 migrants suffocate in the back of a container on its way to Essex has lost his appeal against extradition.

Ngo Sy Tai, also known as Hung Sy Truong, is wanted in Belgium over allegations he ran a so-called "safe house" for his fellow Vietnamese nationals in Anderlecht, Brussels.

Joel Smith, representing Ngo, appealed against extradition and cited a lack of detail in the charges against his client, meaning he was unable to sufficiently advise him.

But District Judge Mark Jabbitt, in his written ruling handed down at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, said Ngo should be extradited.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted over the operation, an extradition hearing at the same court heard last month.

Ngo, who is said to be 18, fled to Berlin and then to Birmingham following the grim discovery of the 39 dead men, women and children in an airtight trailer the morning after it left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, bound for Britain, on October 22, 2019.

The victims, 10 of whom are said to have passed through Ngo's four-storey terraced safe house on a quiet backstreet, had hoped for a better life in Britain when they agreed to pay up to 13,000 pounds (US$17,860 dollars) a head for a "VIP" smuggling service.

The court heard Ngo, who would therefore have been just 16 at the time of the deaths, is accused by Belgian authorities of being a member of a criminal organisation, being involved in human trafficking and using forged documents.

Outlining the case for the Belgian authorities, Daniel Sternberg said: "He (Ngo) is described as an organiser for the people-trafficking organization, arranging accommodation and transit for money.

"The vulnerable position of the people who paid money to be smuggled was abused and minors were also abused.

"A criminal attitude on the part of Ngo and others amounted to gaining money with total disregard to the physical and psychological impact on the victim."

Sternberg said the migrants kept at the safe house were "forbidden to leave, and were obliged to be silent during their stay."

He said Ngo also arranged for taxis to take the Vietnamese migrants to a location near the France-Belgium border before they were put on to the lorry bound for Britain.

Sternberg said there was "sufficient evidence" to bring a case against Ngo, potentially this summer.

The matter will now be sent to the Home Office for the Secretary of State to rubber-stamp extradition, pending any appeal by Ngo's legal team. - dpa
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Barron's: Foreign investors laud Vietnam's infrastructure development plan
Fire hits largest Covid-19 hospital in Philippines, hundreds evacuate; all patients unhurt (update)
Covid-19: Singapore to vaccinate children as community cases keep rising
Japan to donate US$4 milion in food aid for crisis-hit Myanmar
India records more than 4,000 daily Covid-19 deaths as virus cases are coming in smaller numbers
Indonesia pauses distribution of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccine
Cambodia confirms another 350 new Covid-19 cases as another 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine arrive in Kingdom
"China's CPC has made the country a powerhouse and always a good friend to Laos"
Brunei minister: Don’t let new technology affect family ties
Upward momentum on Bursa Malaysia to spill over next week

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers