16 of 39 bodies found inside UK truck arrive in Vietnam

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2019   •   424

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The first 16 of 39 bodies found inside a refrigerated truck in England last month arrived Wednesday in Vietnam to be handed over to their families, according to airport officials.

The plane landed at 5 am local time (10 pm, Tuesday, GMT) at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, more bodies are expected to arrive in the coming hours or days, as Vietnamese authorities did not reveal specific details.

According to digital newspaper VNExpress, 16 ambulances waited at the airport to transport the bodies to Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, where the victims came from. The journey usually takes seven to 10 hours by road from Hanoi, but may take longer on this occasion due to heavy rainfall in the region in recent days.

One of the victims’ family members told EFE that police would only announce the arrival of the bodies 30 minutes in advance and had asked them to remain home until then.

The cost of repatriating the bodies falls on the families, whom the Vietnamese Government offered 30-day loans of 1,370 pounds ($1,760) last week to bring back the ashes of their loved ones and 2,208 pounds for the bodies to return in coffins.

Apart from the government initiative, a crowdfunding campaign through the Gofundme portal has raised $27,415, and private entities have also made contributions, such as a 620 million dong ($26,714) donation by Vingroup, the country’s largest business conglomerate.

This financial aid offers great relief to these families, who face debts of thousands of dollars required to pay networks that facilitate illegal migration to the UK.

According to Mimi Vu, an expert on people smuggling and human trafficking, Vietnamese migrants pay up to $50,000 to reach Europe – an amount almost always borrowed.

British police have arrested seven people in connection with this case, while Vietnamese authorities have arrested 11 from Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces. EFE-EPA


Vietnam quarantines rural community of 10,000 due to coronavirus fears

UNTV News   •   February 14, 2020

Vietnamese authorities on Thursday (February 13) quarantined a community of 10,000 people near the capital, Hanoi, for 20 days because of fears the coronavirus could spread there, two local officials told Reuters.

The rural commune of Son Loi, in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc, 44 km (27 miles) from Hanoi, is home to 11 of the 16 coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian country, including a three-month-old baby.

“The epidemic has affected the life of the villagers badly, especially farmers like me. We cannot sell our goods. No one would buy anything from us once they know we are from Son Loi, then they would avoid us as if we were spreading leprosy,” a despondent local resident who chose to stay outside the quarantined zone before the lockdown, told Reuters

The southeast Asia country has made plans to quarantine hundreds of its citizens returning from China, including 950 at military camps outside Hanoi, and another 900 at temporary facilities on the Vietnam-China border. (Reuters)

(Production: Thinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen)

Immigration Bureau intercepts 4 human trafficking victims at Mactan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has intercepted four suspected victims of human trafficking at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the four women were supposed to take a connecting flight to Dubai from Thailand to work as domestic helpers.

The four women were supposed to board a flight last February 1.

“It appears that the novel coronavirus outbreak has not deterred these syndicates from continuing with their nefarious activities. We are warning their would-be victims that they will not be able to leave, contrary to the promise of their recruiters,” Medina said.

The head of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gi said the four women initially claimed that they are mere tourists who would be going to Thailand for a vacation.

They later admitted that they were going to Dubai to work as domestic helpers and that they were directly recruited by a certain ‘Ms. Jessa’ from a Dubai-based recruitment agency.

“The four were referred to the MCIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing a case against their recruiters,” according to the Immigration Bureau.

The BI reiterated their warning against human trafficking and advised potential victims not to fall for illegal entities.—AAC

Taiwanese POGO employee seeks help after alleged abuse from Chinese employer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

A Taiwanese national claims she was a victim of human trafficking after she was forced to work at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) company.

Twenty-three- year-old Taiwanese national Lai Yu Cian or Ivy is seeking help after she was allegedly trafficked into the Philippines. She also reported suffering abuse from her Chinese employer.

“They want me to work for 24 hours, treating me like a slave. I already told them [employers] I want to go home. I want to go back to Taiwan. But they forced me to work for them,” she said.

Ivy said the company took her passport. She also added that her employer sexually assaulted her and threatened her if she sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Ivy also revealed that her Chinese employer has a protector from the government and that she would sometimes hear the name ‘Michael Yang’.

“They always say that they have a protector behind them who is government people,” she said.

“I heard about once or twice when my supervisor got mad at me, they mentioned Michael Yang. He didn’t explain to me. He just shouts that at me,” Ivy added.

According to Senator Risa Hontiveros, they still haven’t verified if the “Michael Yang” identified by Ivy is the former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Right now our main concern is the humanitarian aspect. We haven’t gone to the checking of identities,” she said.

Ivy is among the 30 other Asian nationals who were rescued in Mandaluyong last February 3.

Senator Joel Villanueva previously said that he is seeking the temporary suspension of POGO operations in the country due to the increasing number of illegal POGO workers.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)


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