The Latest: UK police arrest 4th person in truck deaths case

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FILE – In this Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England. The discovery in England of the bodies of 39 people believed to be from China lays bare some crucial but sometimes overlooked facts about China’s development as a rising global power that has elevated hundreds of millions of its citizens to the middle classes. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the case of 39 people found dead in a truck in England (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

British police say they have arrested a fourth person in connection with the deaths of 39 people found in a truck in southeast England.

Essex Police deputy chief Pippa Mills says a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested at England’s Stansted Airport on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to manslaughter.

In addition, the 25-year-old truck driver, also from Northern Ireland, remains in custody, and a man and woman from northeast England have also been arrested.

Mills said the force would not “speculate” about the victims’ nationalities, but said “this is now a developing picture.” Police earlier had said that all the victims were believed to be Chinese citizens, but reports have emerged that some may have been from Vietnam.

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3:50 p.m.

The Vietnamese Embassy in London has confirmed that it has contacted police about a missing woman feared to be one of the 39 people found dead in a truck in southeastern England.

A spokesman for the embassy said Friday that it had been contacted by a family in Vietnam who claimed their daughter had been missing “since the lorry was found.” The spokesman said: “We have contacted Essex Police and we are waiting for an answer.”

after the bodies were found early Wednesday in an industrial park. Authorities began performing autopsies Friday on the remains of some truck victims as police try to piece together their identities.

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3:40 p.m.

The Associated Press has visited the address of a company in Bulgaria that the Bulgarian government says owns the truck in which 39 people were found dead in England.But residents of the building in the Black Sea port of Varna say it has never had any offices of foreign firms.

Bulgarian media have reported that the owner of the truck was a company named “Tomorrow Movements Today” registered in Varna by an Irish woman.

One man, who would only give his name as Stoyan, said he had lived in the building since 1991 and has never seen an office of a foreign company here.

It’s common for companies from Western Europe to register their trucking companies in Bulgaria due to low taxes and easy registration procedures.Although there are no official statistics of the number of foreign cargo trucks with Bulgarian registration plates on European roads, experts believe they are in the hundreds.

— by Petrova Valentina.

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12:55 p.m.

British police say they’ve arrested two more people in connection with the deaths of 39 people found in the back of a container truck in southeastern England.

Police say a man and a woman, both 38 and from Warrington in northwest England, have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

The 25-year-old driver of the truck remains in custody on suspicion of murder.

Essex police said the victims were believed to be from China. The truck was found Wednesday near a port in southeast England.

China’s embassy in London, however, says Friday in a statement that police are still verifying the victims’ identities and their nationalities had not yet been confirmed.

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4 a.m.

China is calling for joint efforts to counter human smuggling after the discovery in Britain of 39 dead people believed to be Chinese who stowed away in a shipping container.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing that China could not yet confirm the victims’ nationalities or identities but was working in cooperation with local authorities.

Hua says “I think that no matter where these victims come from, this is a great tragedy which drew the attention of the international community to the issue of illegal immigration,” she said.

Hua said Chinese authorities were also seeking information from police in Belgium, from where the shipping container in which the bodies were found was transported to England.

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