DO THANH, Vietnam (AP) — The last remains of the 39 Vietnamese who died while being smuggled in a truck to England last month were repatriated to their home country on Saturday.
Photos by the official Vietnam News Agency showed the arrival at the Hanoi airport of 16 bodies and seven urns, which were flown from London.
They were loaded into ambulances on a foggy morning for a trip to their hometowns in several provinces in northern and central Vietnam, where relatives were preparing to receive them later Saturday.
The bodies were found Oct. 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. Police said the victims were aged between 15 and 44. While no cause of death has been officially established, the circumstances suggested asphyxiation.
The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid human traffickers for their clandestine transit into England. Several suspects have been arrested in the U.K. and Vietnam.
An initial batch of 16 bodies were handed over to their families on Wednesday, and funerals held the following day.
The impoverished villages the victims hailed from have largely been left out of the economic development that has turned urban centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi into boom towns, sending many on a risky journey looking for a better life abroad.