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18 sentenced over 39 Vietnamese migrant deaths

Vo Van Hong, one of the ringleaders of a people-trafficking gang, has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.  The gang is held responsible for the deaths of 39 Vietnamese whose bodies were found in a refrigerated lorry in Essex, England, after they had been smuggled to the UK via the Zeebrugge ferry from Belgium.  The 39 died of heat exhaustion and suffocation in 2019.

In all twenty-three defendants stood trial in Bruges as part of the Belgian judicial process.  Earlier 4 people were convicted in the UK.

In addition to the prison sentence 45-year-old Vo Van Hong received a 920,000 euro fine.  2.3 million euros were seized. The judge spoke of crimes of “a serious nature that is hardly ever seen and contempt for the human dignity and physical integrity of the victims”.

Seventeen other defendants received sentences between one and ten years.  Five defendants were acquitted.

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