Vietnam police have arrested eight people in relation to the 39 dead Vietnamese in a truck near London last month, state media said on Monday.
Last week, British police charged two men with manslaughter over the deaths of the group, whose bodies were found inside a container on the truck on Oct. 23.
Police in the central province of Nghe An, where several suspected victims came from, “arrested eight suspects involved in (people smuggling) rings,” provincial police director Nguyen Huu Cau said, according to the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Cau said police were handling the incident as a case of smuggling rather than that of human trafficking, according to VNA.
Most of the victims were from the neighbouring provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh, in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, encouragement by authorities, smuggling gangs and environmental disaster all contribute to the wave of migrants.
Police in Ha Tinh on Friday said they had arrested two people and demanded the presence of others for questioning on suspicion of involvement in the incident.
The discovery of the bodies has shone a spotlight on the illicit trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.
The alleged truck driver has already been charged over the deaths, and on Friday detectives said Eamon Harrison, 23, from Northern Ireland, was also accused of 39 counts of manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offences.
On Sunday, a delegation of Vietnamese diplomats and police left for Britain where they were expected to meet with their British counterparts on Monday, Vietnam’s official government website said on Monday.