Vietnam police take DNA from relatives of suspected truck victims

Vietnam police take DNA from relatives of suspected truck victims.
Vietnam police take DNA from relatives of suspected truck victims.
Image: 123RF/ Shawn Hempel

Police in Vietnam took hair and blood samples on Sunday to get DNA from relatives of people feared to be among the 39 who died in the back of a truck near London last week, their family members said. The fathers of Joseph Nguyen Dinh Luong and Pham Thi Tra My, believed by their families to have perished in the container truck, said police had visited them separately to collect samples.

“Police from the Public Security Ministry came to get DNA samples, our hair and blood,” Nguyen Dinh Gia told Reuters at Can Loc in Ha Tinh province in north-central Vietnam.

The government did not respond immediately for a request for comment. British police have been trying to identify the bodies, which were discovered on Wednesday in a truck container on an industrial site in Grays, about 32 km (20 miles) east of central London.

Initially, British police believed the victims were Chinese, but later sought help from the Vietnamese community. Chinese and Vietnamese officials were both working closely with British police, the countries’ embassies said.

A Catholic priest in the remote town of Yen Thanh in Nghe An province said on Saturday that he believed most of the dead were likely from Vietnam, where remote communities have been plunged into mourning. British police have said very few of the victims were carrying official identification and that they hope to identify the dead through fingerprints, dental records and DNA, as well as photos from friends and relatives.

- James Pearson; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Deepa Babington 

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