News24

UK police find 15 immigrants in truck

2014-08-19 22:54

London - Fifteen distressed immigrants were found in a truck in Britain on Tuesday, as a man was arrested on suspicion for manslaughter for the death of a stowaway in a similar incident three days earlier.

The 15 foreign nationals in the truck, who told police they were from Kashmir and Eritrea, were discovered after other road users heard shouts and banging coming from inside. The truck was stopped at a service station.

On Saturday, staff at a port heard screaming and banging coming from inside a shipping container, and found 34 Afghan Sikhs alive inside suffering from severe dehydration, hypothermia and lack of air.

One man was found dead, having passed away during the sea crossing from Belgium, and on Tuesday police in Northern Ireland said they had arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter.

The cases have raised questions about Britain's border security and the desperate measures taken by immigrants to reach Britain's shores illegally.

Police arrested the German truck driver after 12 men and three women were found in the back of his vehicle as it travelled near Taunton, south west England on Tuesday.

The people found in the truck were treated by paramedics for possible dehydration but were all in a healthy condition, according to police.

"A total of 15 people were found in quite a state of distress, including men, women and a 15-year-old boy. They have stated they are from Eritrea and Kashmir," an Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said.

"They were quite distressed, it had got very hot inside the vehicle," he added.

"A man, who is from Germany, has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating the unlawful entry of people into the UK.

"He was quite shocked to find people in his vehicle and he is assisting us with our inquiries," explained the spokesperson.

The lorry, which originated in mainland Europe, has been seized as part of the police investigation.

Man arrested over death

Police in Northern Ireland on Tuesday said they had arrested a 34-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter over the death of the Afghan Sikh immigrant whose body was found in a shipping container in south east England on Saturday.

The suspect was detained in the province and is in custody pending transfer to mainland Britain for questioning.

Fleeing alleged religious persecution in Kabul, the Sikhs aged between one and 72 were found suffering severe dehydration and hypothermia in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks east of London.

But one man - identified by police as 40-year-old Meet Singh Kapoor - did not survive the North Sea crossing from Zeebrugge port in Belgium. His children, aged nine and 12, were in the container with him.

"Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating illegal entry into the United Kingdom," Essex Police said.

British authorities are looking after the survivors.

"All 34 are now in the process of claiming asylum in the UK and we are providing accommodation and support to those who require it while their cases are considered," said Britain's interior ministry.

"The UK takes its international obligations extremely seriously and has a proud history of offering protection to those who need it."

AFP
Read more on:    uk migrants

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