For several days, I have been reading news about the death of 39 people smuggled into Britain on a refrigerated truck. It touched my heart as at this moment, 25 (and probably more) of those dead were identified as Vietnamese who came from the same impoverished coastal region of North Vietnam.
The victims had paid between £8,000 to £30,000 by their families to be smuggled and started their journey from Vietnam to China, then Germany or France and finally in Belgium to board the deadly refrigerated trailer.
“The victims were discovered naked, or with minimal clothing, and had been desperately ‘banging on the doors’ for help and had ‘foam coming from their mouths’.“
Dreams of a better life: Faces of the migrants who died in truck tragedy while trying to enter UK – as it emerges 25 of the 39 victims were from the same Vietnamese village. – Daily Mail – by Jemma Carr, Abul Taher and Holly Bancroft – Sunday 27 October 2019.
An ex-refugee who had experienced almost suffocated in the back of a shipping container during his journey to England expressed his insight into the people smugglers:
““They don’t see you as a human being. They see you as a commodity, as money, as an object, and this is it,” he said.
“Never, ever, trust them. I mean, I had to put my faith in them and I regretted it.””
Ex-refugee recalls his own terrifying experience of being smuggled in a truck after Essex lorry tragedy – by Associated Press – Sunday Oct 27 2019.
A Vietnamese woman – as reported by a journalist for The Guardian – recalled the trip her brothers took with 600 others on one ship after paying the Vietnamese Communist people smugglers taels of gold that amounted to more than several thousand of dollars each so they could legally leave and seek refuge in another Western country.
Like the Europe criminals, the Vietnamese Communist only saw the benefits coming in when they could get rid of the Chinese Vietnamese who they thought were spies during the war with China in 1978 – 1979. The Chinese Vietnamese in hundreds, were rounded up at transit camps, then one by one forfeited of their personal identity cards after showing them to the Communist officials to prove that they were the paid passengers before boarding the overcrowded ships. Many ships sank near the shores or not far from the ports or during bad weather because of the overload. People jumped into the sea in their desperation after spending days cramped as sardines, buried under the vomit or faeces of other passengers or of themselves in the same confined space.
“For Loan Hoang, news of the tragedy in Essex brought memories rushing back of how her own brothers risked their lives to help their family flee Vietnam four decades ago.
In 1978, three of them were among 600 people crammed on to a boat made for 400. With the boat barely floating under the weight of its cargo, they set out to sea uncertain whether the voyage would end in safety or death.
The risks the men ran in the 1970s were very real. In more than a decade of Vietnamese refugees fleeing by boat, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, died at sea, drowned or targeted by pirates.
Hoang’s brothers were among the lucky ones. They were rescued by a passing ship, then given asylum in the UK, where their parents and two unmarried sisters were able to join them a year later.”
Vietnamese in Britain recall perilous flight to safety – The Guardian – by Emma Graham Harrison – Sunday 27 Oct 2019.
It’s a human business that’s unlike the agreement the Europe people smugglers had with the migrants or refugees, the Vietnamese Communist made the Chinese Vietnamese prepay their fares. That way, money was guaranteed to be deposited in the coffers of the Vietnamese Communist government and the corrupted Communist officials and the fate of the Chinese at sea would no longer be the Communist‘s concern as their jobs were done.
“But my cousin had made an agreement with the smuggler that we would go from Kabul to Turkey and the money was blocked in Kabul until word reached my cousin that we had arrived there.
Had I already paid, they would have left us somewhere along the way as has happened to thousands of others.
The smugglers took us to a factory. Armed men made sure we did not run away. We were prisoners.
All the smugglers we met were part of the same group, passing us from border to border, from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Pakistan to Iran, Iran to Turkey.
They all had guns. If people escaped, the smugglers don’t get their money.
It’s a business. A human business.”
I smuggled my family into Europe on the back of a truck. We could have died too. – ABC – by Nasir Ahmad Ahmadi, as told to Kim Traill – Sunday 27 October 2019.
In my previous post, I did tell you the story of my whole neighbourhood in the Chinese quarter of Saigon became empty as some of my Chinese Vietnamese neighbours were bourgeoisie and forfeited of their houses, assets then banished to the barren land of the New Economic Zone for labour while some paid the government to escape the regime.
You can also read the story of my escape when my boat was captured by the Communist.