The last remains of the 39 Vietnamese people who died while being smuggled in a lorry to the UK have been repatriated to their home country.

Sixteen bodies and seven urns arrived at Hanoi Airport from London.

They were loaded into ambulances to be returned to their hometowns in several provinces in northern and central Vietnam, where relatives were preparing to receive them later.

The bodies were found on October 23 in Grays, Essex. Police said the victims were aged between 15 and 44. While no cause of death has been officially established, the circumstances suggested asphyxiation.

Coffins arrive at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid human traffickers for their transit into England. Several suspects have been arrested in the UK and Vietnam.

An initial batch of 16 bodies were handed over to their families on Wednesday, and funerals held the following day.

The impoverished villages the victims hailed from have largely been left out of the economic development that has turned urban centres like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi into boom towns, sending many on a risky journey looking for a better life abroad.

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