A man arrested by the National Crime Agency over his alleged involvement in the smuggling of migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex has had his extradition ordered.
The man, known as Ngo Sy Tai, is wanted by Belgian prosecutors who allege he was a member of a criminal network involved in large scale organised people smuggling.
Tai was tracked down by NCA officers to an address in the Redditch area of Worcestershire, where he was apprehended on the evening Tuesday 15 December on a European Arrest Warrant.
He is suspected of having been involved in transporting at least ten of the 39 found dead in Essex in October 2019, moving them from a safe house in Anderlecht in taxis to a location near the French/Belgian border before they were put onto the lorry.
After hearing the migrants had died, it is alleged Tai fled Belgium and initially went to Germany before moving to the UK.
Today (8 April) Westminster Magistrates Court approved his extradition to Belgium to face trial. He has seven days to appeal.
The NCA’s Head of Organised Immigration Crime Operations, Miles Bonfield, said:
“We are working closely with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond to disrupt and dismantle organise criminal networks involved in people smuggling.
“The arrest of Tai demonstrates that in action, and demonstrates our continued determination to get justice for the families of those who so tragically died in October 2019.
“People smuggling is a horrendous trade where those involved treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from and do not care about their safety or wellbeing. There can be no greater example of that than this case.”
The extradition follows the convictions of seven people in the UK for their roles in the events which led to the Essex deaths, including four men who were found guilty of manslaughter. The seven were given jail terms totalling more than 92 years in January 2021.
8 April 2021