Human summgling to the UK - 58 bodies found in truck

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Subject: Human summgling to the UK - 58 bodies found in truck
From: GAATW (gaatw@mozart.inet.co.th)
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 10:53:53 EDT


<Reported in Bangkok Post June 20th, 2000>

Human Smuggling
58 bodies found in truck suffocation likely cause of death

Dover, England, Reuters Customs officers yesterday found the bodies of 58 men
and women believed to be Chinese crammed into a truck in Britain’s worst
tragedy involving illegal immigrants.

Government ministers expressed shock and condemned the organised
trafficking in
people. They were quick to conclude the victims were economic migrants rather
than refugees. It was not immediately clear how the migrants died, but
suffocation seemed a likely cause. The cooling unit on the Dutch-registered
truck was not switched on despite sweltering temperatures, police in the
southern port city said.

Police were questioning two men who survived the ordeal and hoped clues would
emerge about the gang responsible for smuggling the Asians into Britain.

“This kind of operation just doesn’t happen spontaneously”, police spokesman
Mark Pugash said. “Something like this requires a large degree of planing,
co-ordination and sophistication.”

Asylum-seekers have died on their journey to Britain, often after jumping from
trains to avoid detection. But Mr Pugash said officers were profoundly
shocked
to find the bodies of 54 men and four women behind pallets of tomatoes stacked
at the rear doors of the 18 m truck.

Meanwhile, the Dutch truck driver was arrested but authorities in the
Netherlands said there was some confusion over his identity and the name of
haulage company.

The truck left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on Sunday evening and was
searched
by customs officers a few hours later at Dover.

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
The International Coordination Office,
P.O.Box 36 Bangkok Noi Post Office,
Bangkok 10700 THAILAND.
Tel: (66-2) 864-1427/8
Fax: (66-2) 864-1637
E-Mail: GAATW@mozart.inet.co.th
URL:http://www.inet.co.th/org/gaatw


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