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Seven jailed over Vietnamese lorry deaths




Paul Kennedy

Seven men have been jailed for a total of more than 92 years in connection with 39 Vietnamese citizens found dead at the back of a lorry in the United Kingdom in October 2019.

The people smuggling gang were jailed at London’s Old Bailey on Friday afternoon UK time by his Hon. Mr Justice Sweeney.

Sentencing them, the judge said: “I have no doubt that the conspiracy was a sophisticated, long-running and profitable one to smuggle mainly Vietnamese people across the channel.

“There were desperate attempts to contact the outside world by phone and to break through the roof of the container. All were to no avail and, before the ship reached Purfleet, [the victims] all died in what must have been an excruciatingly painful death.”

Chief Constable of Essex Police, Ben-Julian Harrington, acknowledged that the result upheld the promise he had made to the families more than a year ago. 

He said: “Their families, most of them thousands of miles away, have had their heartbreak played out for the world to see. They’ve kept their dignity, and they put their trust in us to deliver justice. I promised them that we would, and my teams have done just that.   

“Our thoughts and our prayers will always be with the families of the victims and we’ll continue to support them in any way we can.” 

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, added: “I welcome the sentences given today, a reflection of both the serious criminality and the tragic nature of this case. 

“May this serve as a warning to those who think it’s okay to prey on the vulnerabilities of migrants and their families, transporting them in a way worse than we would transport animals. My message to you is that we will find you and we will stop you.   

“We’re also working closely with the haulage industry, to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again.

“I hope it will bring the families some comfort to know that they will serve a [significant amount of] time in prison, but I know that their pain will never go away.”


Ronan Hughes, sentenced to 20 years. Photo Essex Police


Gheorghe Nica sentenced to 27 years. Photo Essex Police


Eamon Harrison sentenced to 18 years. Photo Essex Police


Maurice Robinson sentenced to 13 years and four months. Photo Essex Police

Lorry driver Eamon Harrison, 24, was given 18 years and fellow driver Maurice Robinson, 26, 13 years and four months.Ronan Hughes, 41 and Gheorghe Nica, 43, were leading figures in the people smuggling operation. They were jailed for 20 and 27 years respectively.


Christopher Kennedy sentenced to seven years. Photo Thames Valley Police


Valentin Calota sentenced to four and a half years. Photo Essex Police


Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga sentenced to three years. Photo Essex Police

Three others members of the people-smuggling gang were also sentenced for conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration. Christopher Kennedy, 24, from County Armagh, was jailed for seven years; Valentin Calota, 38, of Birmingham, for four-and-a-half years; and Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 28, of Hobart Road, Tilbury, Essex, was given a three-year sentence. –




Vietnamese teacher jailed for molesting, having sex with ninth graders



A middle school teacher has been sentenced to seven years in prison for molesting and having sex with four school boys in the southern Vietnamese province of Tay Ninh.

The People’s Court in Duong Minh Chau District, Tay Ninh Province on Tuesday opened the trial against Nguyen Hoang Nhut, 39, a former teacher of Phuoc Minh Middle School.

Nhut was condemned to a seven-year jail term for having sex with people between 13 and under 16 years and molesting people under 16 years old, according to Vietnamese law.

According to the indictment, Nhut was using a gay social network app in June 2019 when he discovered that L.G.L. was also a member.

L. was a ninth grader at Phuoc Minh Middle School, and Nhut was his biology teacher.

During one lesson, Nhut caught L. talking in class and told him to clean up the laboratory as a punishment.

At the lab, Nhut said that his arms were in pain and tricked L. into touching his genitals.

The incident took place for about two minutes before Nhut told L. to go back to class as there was someone outside the room.

About one week later, Nhut phoned the boy and asked him to come to his house and help him bring some files to the school.

Upon L.’s arrival, Nhut asked the student to have sex with him, and the latter agreed.

Aside from L., Nhut also had sex with two other school boys and molested another from June to December 2019.

They were all ninth-grade students of Phuoc Minh School at the time of the incidents.

Local police arrested and initiated legal proceedings against the teacher in June 2020.

Aside from the jail term, Nhut was also required to pay VND10 million (US$436) to each of the victims as compensation.

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Residents help catch armed bank robbers in southern Vietnamese province



Two young men were arrested by local people during their escape after a failed attempt to rob a bank with a gun in Vietnam.

The armed robbery took place at the Agribank – Ha Tien branch at 37 Lam Son Street in Dong Ho Ward in Ha Tien City, Kien Giang Province, police in the city said on Tuesday afternoon.

At around 4:30 pm that day, two young men wearing face masks, helmets, and a backpack walked into the branch and threatened bankers with a gun, demanding they give them money.

As the banking employees shouted for help and ran out of the branch, a bank guard also joined their cry and pulled out a rubber gun and fired it three times in the air.

Seeing that the bank guard had a gun, the two young men escaped on their motorbike toward nearby Nguyen Than Hien Street, where local people managed to catch them and confiscate their weapon.

Police in Ha Tien City immediately arrived at the scene after being informed of the case.

Police officers arrested the two robbers, as well as collected evidence, extracted footage from CCTV cameras, and took testimonies from witnesses at the scene.

Right at the scene, the two young men declared their names as Trinh Dinh Phu and Trinh Dinh Hao, both dwelling in Thuan Yen Commune in Ha Tien City. 

Currently, the case is being further investigated for clarification.

This is the first time authorities in Ha Tien City have recorded a heist with a gun.

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Two cars with same plate number seized after encounter on Hanoi street



Two cars carrying the same license plate number were temporarily confiscated by police to verify a bogus license plate after they coincidentally appeared on the same street in Hanoi.

Traffic police in Hanoi on Tuesday said that police officers in Van Phuc Ward, Ha Dong District were holding two Mercedes-Benz cars with the same color, both numbered 30E-488.16, after a video showing these two automobiles traveling on Van Phuc Street in the same district had gone viral on social media on Sunday.

Police in Ha Dong District also summoned the people who claim to be the owners of the vehicles to the Van Phuc Ward police station to clarify which of the number plates was illegal.

According to a source, the number plate 30E-488.16 in the system of Vietnam Register, which is in charge of car registration and inspection, belongs to a Mercedes-Benz car produced in 2011 and was registered for the first time in March 2012.

According to the records, its owner is a limited company based in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi.

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