Who are the Vietnamese feared dead in UK truck tragedy?

Who are the Vietnamese feared dead in UK truck tragedy?

Bui Phan Thang was a father of three
Bui Phan Thang was a father of three. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

HANOI: AFP has spoken to several families of Vietnamese nationals missing in Britain, feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Essex last week.

DNA has been collected from relatives as officials in Vietnam and the UK work to officially identify the victims.

Here are the profiles of the disappeared.

  • Hoang Van Tiep, 18, from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province

After Tiep dropped out of high school, he told his family he wanted to work overseas instead of becoming a fisherman in his coastal home province.

He left with his cousin Nguyen Van Hung - who is also missing - a year ago for France where he worked as a dishwasher.

READ: Flights and fake passports: The 'VIP packages' enticing Vietnamese to UK

Hoang Van Tiep, pictured on the screen, is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in
Hoang Van Tiep, pictured on the screen, is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

On Oct 21, two days before the truck was found, he wrote to his family asking them to get US$13,000 to pay to smugglers for his trip to the UK, the last they heard from him.

He carried nothing but €500 (US$550) in his wallet and the clothes on his back.

  • Nguyen Van Hung, 33, from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province.

With his sights set on the UK, Hung got a falsified passport last year and took off without telling his parents.

Travelling via Russia, he snaked his way westwards to France.

READ: 'Easy money and a better life': Vietnamese undeterred by UK truck tragedy

Nguyen Van Hung got a falsified passport in 2018 and took off without telling his parents
Nguyen Van Hung got a falsified passport in 2018 and took off without telling his parents. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

He called his parents on Oct 21 asking them to get money together for his crossing into the UK, telling them he didn't have any luggage - just the clothes he was wearing.

  • Pham Thi Tra My, 26, from Can Loc district, Ha Tinh province

In her final chilling message to her mother My said: "I'm sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn't succeed. Mom and dad I love you so much! I'm dying because I can't breathe."

The note was sent just hours before the bodies were discovered in the refrigerated trailer.

READ: Families of Vietnamese missing in UK stuck with crippling migrant loans

uk truck deaths vietnam girl
In a text message addressed to her mother, Pham Thi Tra My, 26, said that she could not breathe at about the time the truck container was en route from Belgium to Britain, says a human right activist. (Photo: Twitter/Hoa Nghiem)

Pham Thi Tra My sent a chilling message to her mother, saying: 'I'm sorry Mom. My path to
Pham Thi Tra My sent a chilling message to her mother, saying: "I'm sorry Mom. My path to abroad doesn't succeed." (Photo: AFP/STR)

My left home on Oct 3, apparently going into debt to fund her trip abroad.

"Please try to work hard to pay the debt for mummy, my dear," she wrote to her brother Pham Manh Cuong.

  • Le Van Ha, 30, from Yen Thanh district, Nghe Anh province

Ha left behind his wife and two children for Europe en route to the UK - his youngest son was born just three months ago after he left home - where he hoped to earn enough money to support his young family.

Ha flunked out of police school, then tried rice farming and interior design before deciding to set off.

READ: Vietnam PM orders probe into human trafficking allegations in UK truck deaths

Le Van Ha left behind his wife and two children for Europe en route to the UK
Le Van Ha left behind his wife and two children for Europe en route to the UK. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

The family last heard from him on Oct 21: "I'm about to board a car to Britain. I'll contact the family when I arrive in England, Dad," he wrote to his father.

  • Cao Tien Dung, 37, from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province

The father-of-two and former barber left Vietnam in June 2008 for Europe, settling in Germany where he worked as a delivery man

"He worked very hard but could not earn much money," his sister Cao Thi Hao told AFP.

He went to France on Oct 20, and last messaged home two days letter to say he was going to Britain.

  • Cao Huy Thanh, 37, from Dien Chau district, Nghe An province

Thanh worked in a chicken processing plant in Romania where he moved in March 2019, leaving his four children behind.

READ: Vietnam police take DNA from relatives of suspected UK truck victims

Distruaght families fear their loved-ones were among the people found dead
Distraught families fear their loved-ones were among the people found dead. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

He went to Germany then the UK on Oct 22 with his friend Cao Tien Dung, who is also missing, writing home for a final time.

"He told us to burn incense for our ancestors and pray for his good luck," his wife Thai Thi Giang said.

  • Bui Thi Nhung, 19, from Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province

An avid Facebooker, Nhung left home two months ago with her sights set on Britain.

Her feed was full of selfies and snaps of bubble tea and noodle soup as she travelled across Europe, until her page went silent two days before the doomed truck was found.

READ: UK sends documents to Vietnam to help identify truck victims

Bui Thi Nhung's Facebook feed was full of selfies and snaps of bubble tea and noodle soup as
Bui Thi Nhung's Facebook feed was full of selfies and snaps of bubble tea and noodle soup as she travelled across Europe. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

  • Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, from Can Loc district, Ha Tinh province

One of eight kids, Luong had been living in France since 2018 where he worked as a waiter.

A few weeks ago called home to say he was heading to the UK to work.

READ: China calls for 'severe punishment' for those involved in UK truck deaths

Nguyen Dinh Luong
Nguyen Dinh Luong.

Nguyen Dinh Luong had been living in France since 2018 where he worked as a waiter
Nguyen Dinh Luong had been living in France since 2018 where he worked as a waiter. (Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

A relative posted a desperate plea on Facebook after he went missing: "His characteristics: 1.62 meters, weight about 58 kg. He has a tattoo on his left bicep."

  • Bui Phan Thang, 37, from Hong Linh district, Ha Tinh province

This was Thang's second trip overseas for work, after a stint in Taiwan as a labourer a few years ago.

The father of three last called home on Oct 21, telling his family he was stepping out to buy groceries.

"My husband is a very nice man. He doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink. He has always taken good care of us," his wife Nguyen Anh Hong told AFP.

  • Nguyen Huy Hung, 15, from Nghi Xuan district, Ha Tinh province

Believed to be the youngest suspected victim, Hung left his rural village for the UK where his parents both live.

His sister, who lives in South Korea, posted on Facebook that her younger brother was missing and believed to be in the truck.

  • Nguyen Dinh Tu, 27, from Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province

A former army recruit, Tu is believed to have travelled from Germany to Britain where he planned to meet his father-in-law who helped to arrange his trip.

Tu's Facebook page says he lives in Berlin and features a profile picture of a clean-cut man in a black turtleneck.

  • Vo Ngoc Nam, 28, from Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province

Nam worked in Romania for a few months before heading to the UK.

His family lost touch with him a few days before the truck was found.

READ: Our coverage of the UK truck deaths

Source: AFP/zl

Bookmark