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Thursday, October 24, 2019

39 people found dead in truck container in southeast England

British police have launched a murder investigation after the bodies of 39 people were found in a truck container outside London.
Officials across Europe are now attempting to piece together how and why these people were found dead in the tractor-trailer, which was found at an industrial park in Essex early Wednesday.
The driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

"This is an absolute tragedy and a very sad day for Essex police and in the local community," Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills of Essex Police told a news conference. "We will continue to work alongside many other partner agencies to find out what led to these deaths. I'd like to appeal for anyone who has any information to contact my offices."
Although police have released little information, the incident echoes several cases of attempted human trafficking that have ended in tragedy across Europe.
In 2000, the bodies of 58 people from China were found in a tomato truck at the English port of Dover. And in Austria in 2015, 71 people who had fled Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were found dead in a truck in Austria.
How and why the truck entered the U.K. this week was the subject of some confusion Wednesday.
British police initially said they believed it "came from" Bulgaria and entered the U.K. through the Welsh port of Holyhead.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said it was true that in 2017 an Irish woman registered the truck in his country, but he said that it left soon afterward and never returned, Reuters reported.

Foreign trucking companies are often registered in Bulgaria thanks to liberal regulations and low costs compared to the rest of the European Union.
On Wednesday, the vehicle was found at the Waterglade Industrial Park in the town of Grays in the county of Essex, around 15 miles east of central London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was "appalled by this tragic incident," adding that the government would work with police to establish what happened.
British Interior Minister Priti Patel tweeted that she was "shocked and saddened by this utterly tragic incident."
The National Crime Agency — which investigates organized crime including human trafficking — said it has deployed officers to the scene.
The human rights watchdog Amnesty International called it "a heartbreaking and horrifying" incident.
"People who are forced to take dangerous and sometimes fatal passages to reach the U.K. often do so because current immigration policies and practices deny them safe and legal options," said a statement from Steve Valdez-Symonds, the group's U.K. refugee and migrant rights director.

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