World News

One UK truck victim might have been from Vietnam - rights activist

LONDON (Reuters) - One of the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London might have originally come from Vietnam, a Vietnamese human rights activist has said.

Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent a text message to her mother saying she could not breathe at about the time the truck container was en route from Belgium to Britain, Hoa Nghiem from Human Rights Space, a civic network based in Vietnam, said.

“It was told on the news that all 39 people were Chinese but Tra My’s family is trying to verify if their daughter was among them as the last dying text from her was coincidentally intime,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Our contact is getting more alerts that there could be more Vietnamese people in the truck.”

Nghiem published a screenshot of Tra My’s text message which indicated it was sent at 4.28 a.m. on Wednesday Vietnam time (2128 GMT Tuesday).

The bodies were found in the truck container at an industrial estate near London at 1.40 a.m. (0040 GMT) British time having arrived in Britain about an hour-and-a-half earlier after being shipped from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

“I’m sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn’t succeed. Mom, I love you so much! I’m dying bcoz I can’t breath ... I’m from Nghen, Can Loc, Ha Tinh, Vietnam ... I am sorry, Mom,” the message said according to Nghiem.

British police have said the 39 victims were all believed to be Chinese nationals.

“Pham Thi Tra My went to China and planned to go to England via France, a contact with her family told me,” Nghiem said.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison/Guy Faulconbridge