THE HAGUE: One of the 39 Vietnamese victims found dead in a refrigerated truck in Britain last month is a minor who disappeared from a Dutch asylum shelter previously, a newspaper report said Saturday (Nov 23).
The boy, whose name and age was not released, was among the bodies found near the south-east English port of Purfleet on Oct 23, the Algemeen Dagblad daily reported.
"The teenaged boy absconded from an extra-secure facility for vulnerable asylum seekers," the paper said, quoting a source at the COA, the Dutch government organisation handling refugees.
The COA declined to give the victim's name, but the newspaper said investigations showed the teen went missing from an asylum-seeker's centre in southern Limburg province.
Six Vietnamese teens also disappeared from the centre in August, sparking a massive police search involving helicopters, the paper said.
The COA however declined to link the disappearance of the six teens to the dead victim in Britain.
The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a trailer on an industrial estate east of London, with one of the youngest a 15-year-old boy named Nguyen Huy Hung.
The lorry had earlier arrived on a cargo ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
Hundreds of migrants try to enter Britain annually through the world's busiest waterway using unsafe boats.
The role human traffickers play in such operations came under new scrutiny after the Vietnamese tragedy.
British detectives investigating the case on Friday made another arrest, detaining a 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
Northern Irish truck driver Mo Robinson, 25, has already appeared in court in connection with the case, while another man from Northern Irish, Eamonn Harrison, 22, is facing extradition proceedings in Ireland.