By Viet Nam News/Asia News Network
This arrest brings the total number of suspects to nine, said Major General Nguyễn Hữu Cầu, head of Nghệ An Province’s police, during the ongoing National Assembly meeting.
Four days ago, police in neighbouring Hà Tĩnh Province announced they had detained two suspects in connection with the case.
Cầu added that all nine arrested hailed from the province.
They are not “professionals,” Cầu said, adding that they are merely people with relatives already working in the UK or have themselves worked or visited the country, and so they used their connections to help bring those interested to the UK.
Cầu said that legal proceedings against the nine suspects could be started within nine days, according to the law.
The investigation authorities will carry out the investigation with time and speed in mind but won’t give in to public pressure in this high-profile case and be reckless.
Cầu said that the UK had transferred all the victims’ fingerprint files to the Vietnamese authorities, but the UK law stipulated that the police's investigation results could only be publicly disclosed with approval from the court so right now, there’s no official answer on the identities of the victims.
The victims were originally believed by the UK police to be Chinese nationals, but afterwards, many families in central Việt Nam reported that they lost contacts with their relatives that were supposed to be en route to the UK.
The Nghệ An police chief said the investigation into the people smuggling would be expanded.
Initial interrogation revealed that the detained suspects helped the victims emigrate via Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội.
To know how they transited via another country, or countries, to finally reach their intended destination in the UK, would require information from several agencies, he said.
Also, yesterday, prior to the planned agenda of the plenary session, Secretary of the National Assembly Office Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc delivered a report summarising the developments in the case so far.
He said that the identities of the victims would likely be made available in a few days.
Vice Chair of National Assembly Uông Chu Lưu said the 39 deaths had shocked the entire world.
“The National Assembly sent deepest condolences to the victims’ families and asked that the Government, concerned agencies at central and local levels collaborate with all involved countries to clarify this case,” Lưu said.
On Monday (local time), deputy foreign minister Tô Anh Dũng has had a meeting with representatives from the UK Home Office and Essex police, during which he expressed gratitude towards the UK’s cooperation and wished the two sides would be able to identify the victims soon.
He had also laid flowers in honour of the 39 victims.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc directed Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work closely with the British side to identify names of the victims, while investigating into criminal rings that smuggle Vietnamese abroad, rolling out measures to protect Vietnamese citizens and sending an inter-sectoral working team to the UK to collaborate with the British side to deal with the case.
He also asked the ministries to directly update families of the victims with relevant information and help them in organising funerals.— VNS