UK Police have confirmed that the 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex are believed to be Chinese nationals.
“We have since confirmed that eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men and all are believed to be Chinese nationals,” police said in a statement on Thursday.
Police initially suggested the lorry could be from Bulgaria, but later said officers believed it entered the UK from Belgium. Belgian prosecutors confirmed the container was shipped from the port of Zeebrugge on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Bulgarian foreign affairs ministry said the truck was registered in the country under the name of a company owned by an Irish citizen.
Police are continuing their interrogation of the 25-year-old lorry driver, who is being held on suspicion of murder.
Officers in Northern Ireland have also raided three properties in County Armagh while the National Crime Agency said it was working to identify “organized crime groups who may have played a part”.
The lorry has been removed from the industrial park to allow for the next stage of the investigation where the bodies can be recovered for further forensic work to begin.