French court finds Vietnamese truck tragedy suspects guilty.

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    Nov 13, 2023

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French court convicts individuals in a people smuggling case involving the tragic death of 39 Vietnamese migrants en route to Britain. Jail terms range up to 10 years.


In October 2019, a tragic incident unfolded at a port near London, where the lifeless bodies of suffocated migrants were discovered. Heartbreakingly, among them were two innocent souls who were just 15 years old. These individuals had tragically lost their lives within a sealed unit.

After journeying in their truck from northern France to Belgium, they proceeded to cross the Channel and reached Britain.

In 2021, a trial took place in Britain where the masterminds behind this operation, hailing from Romania and Britain, were found guilty. Following their conviction, they received significant prison sentences of 27 and 20 years, respectively.

Different individuals, particularly the drivers involved, were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 12 to 20 years. Meanwhile, a Vietnamese man, who was responsible for leading the local faction of the network, received a 15-year prison term as ruled by a Belgian court.

Out of the 19 individuals involved in the French trial, comprising Vietnamese, French, Chinese, Algerian, and Moroccan citizens, a total of 18 were convicted.

Four Vietnamese individuals were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and handed prison sentences ranging from nine to ten years.

A total of four Vietnamese citizens, out of which two were not present during the trial and are currently labeled as fugitives, have been handed sentences ranging from one to 10 years. The charges against them revolve around their involvement in the transportation and accommodation of migrants.

The remaining individuals, who were either drivers or owners of apartments collaborating with the gang, received suspended jail sentences.

All charges against one defendant, identified as the driver, were dropped and they were acquitted.

Based on intercepted phone calls, the migrants were derogatorily referred to as "goods" or "chickens" by the group.

Following the tragedy, distressing narratives surfaced from the victims who had documented heartfelt messages to their loved ones while trapped inside the enclosed truck.

In a single heartfelt message, 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My conveyed her deep affection for her parents: "Dear Mom and Dad, my love for you knows no bounds. Regrettably, I am facing a dire situation where every breath becomes an arduous struggle, as if life is slipping away from me."

A different individual left behind a heartfelt message, expressing his desire to reunite with his loved ones and sincerely wishing them a happy and fulfilling future.

In spite of some defendants asserting that they were coerced into collaborating with the gang, the court has firmly asserted that their primary driving force was monetary gain.

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