26 arrests in France and Belgium

A simultaneous intervention in France and Belgium made it possible to arrest 26 people on Tuesday, in connection with the case of the refrigerated truck discovered in late October near London with the bodies of 39 migrants on board, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office announced.

Twenty-six arrests were made at the same time in Ile-de-France and Belgium, on Tuesday, May 26, as part of the mass transit case discovered in late October near London with 39 migrants on board, according to a press release from the Paris Prosecutor’s Office.

In Belgium, 13 people, including eleven Vietnamese and two Moroccans, were arrested, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.

The container where the bodies were discovered came from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The joint investigation of the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Belgium also resulted in 16 searches on Belgian soil.

“The chain set up by traffickers is suspected to have transported up to several dozen people every day for several months,” stresses the Belgian prosecution. “The organization focused on the transport of refugees from Asia, especially Vietnam,” admitted it and is “suspected of having made possible” the transport of the 39 migrants discovered dead on October 23 by the British Industrial Area Police in Grays (Essex).

Since the facts, two legal data had been opened: one in October, bills of trafficking in an organized gang, assistance for irregular stays in an organized gang and association of criminals; the second, in early March, of bills of manslaughter, human trafficking in an organized gang, assistance to a foreigner’s illegal stay in an organized gang, and associations of criminals.

Criminal organization that lives and transports migrants

The 13 people arrested and placed in police custody in France are suspected of participating in a criminal organization that has transported dozens of migrants from Southeast Asia daily, and especially from Vietnam, for several months.

The prosecution did not specify the nationalities, but sources close to the file, these suspects are mainly Vietnamese.

The largest operation was carried out in France by investigators from the Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Untitled Foreigners (OCRIEST). This required the support of a joint investigative team consisting of Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France during the coordination of EuroJust, the European body responsible for strengthening judicial cooperation between Member States, and with the support of EuroPol.

Implemented in France by the National Court to Combat Organized Crime (Junalco), legal information, which opened in early March in Paris, follows an investigation that began in late 2019 following the discovery of 39 Vietnamese migrants who died in a refrigerator at night of October 22-23, 2019 in the UK.

In November, exchanges between the specialized interregional jurisdictions (JIRS) in Lyon and Lille, initiated by Junalco, made it possible to collect the parts of the ongoing investigations and identify the immigration networks that received, housed and transported the vast majority of migrants nationally. territory before its departure to the United Kingdom.

Arrest in Ireland earlier this month

The case, which has international consequences, highlights the dangers of illegal immigration, with unscrupulous traffickers exploiting candidates’ vulnerability, often pledging unsafe jobs in part of semi-slavery in the UK.

An arrest had already taken place in May, in Ireland, of the alleged organizer of the rotation of the various drivers who had led to the drama.

In addition, five people have already been charged in the UK investigation, including Maurice Robinson, 25, the driver of the truck being intercepted in Grays. In early April, he pleaded guilty to murder in a court in London.

With AFP