Human trafficking gang leader jailed — Analysis

After 39 migrants that he had smuggled into Britain, a Vietnamese-American man was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by a Belgian court.

Vo Van Hong, 45 years old, was found guilty of running the cross-channel operation for human trafficking. In addition to his prison sentence, the Bruges court also ordered him to pay a €920,000 ($1.04 million) fine. For their participation in people smuggling, 17 members of the gang were also given sentences by the court.

Some of those convicted allowed their homes to serve as meeting places for migrants or helped victims obtain documents. Six taxi drivers were sentenced for taking migrants to their meeting places.

In the 234-page ruling, judges noted that the criminals had dehumanized the victims and charged them at least €24,000 ($27,000) for the trips.

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Hong’s sentencing was linked to the discovery of 39 dead bodies found in a shipping container on an industrial estate east of London in 2019. The victims – 31 men and eight women – were all Vietnamese, the youngest two aged only 15.

They died from hyperthermia and suffocation in their container that arrived at Zeebrugge, Belgium. Reuters said that the majority of the victims were in the Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Ha Tinh provinces located in northern Vietnam.

A British court also sentenced four people in connection to 39 deaths last year. Their sentences ranged from 13 to 27 Years.

Vo Van Hong, one of the 23 suspects in this case was arrested after a raid at multiple addresses by Belgian police on May 2020.

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