The 39 people found dead Wednesday in the container of a refrigeration truck in Essex, southeastern England, are not confirmed to be Chinese nationals, according to information from the Chinese Embassy to the U.K., disputing a statement from local British police, state-run CCTV reported on Friday.
Essex police said Thursday that the people were “believed to be Chinese nationals.” China’s foreign ministry said that embassy staff stationed in the U.K. were en route to verify “relevant information.”
“We read with heavy heart the reports about the death of 39 people in Essex, England. We are in close contact with the British police to seek clarification and confirmation of the relevant reports,” said Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the U.K., in an embassy statement posted on Twitter.
Essex police said in a statement that of the 39 people on the truck, 38 “are believed to be adults, and one is a young adult woman.” Eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men, the statement confirmed. The police also said that the first 11 victims had been transported to a nearby hospital for identification and post-mortem examinations.
The truck’s contained had traveled from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, Essex, where it was collected at around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday. At 1:40 a.m., local paramedics informed the police of the bodies of 38 adults and one minor in a truck container in a nearby industrial park.
The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old citizen of Northern Ireland, was arrested and is in questioning.
Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.
Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (firstname.lastname@example.org)