British police arrest second man over container death

British police arrest second man over container death

LONDON - A second man was arrested on Wednesday over the death of an Afghan Sikh and the discovery of 34 others in an airless shipping container, police said.

The 33-year-old man from Londonderry turned himself in at a police station in the English county of Essex, and was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating illegal entry into the country.

The arrest came a day after police detained another man in Northern Ireland on suspicion of manslaughter in connection to the case.

The Sikh families were discovered on Saturday at Tilbury Docks, east of London, when banging and screaming was heard coming from the container, which had arrived by ship from Belgium.

Meet Singh Kapoor, aged 40, was found dead. He had been travelling with two children aged nine and 12.

The survivors told a translator they had fled Kabul in Afghanistan due to religious persecution.

The Refugee Council said the case showed that strict immigration laws force migrants to turn to people smugglers.

"This tragedy illustrates, all too painfully, the desperate measures that people who are in fear of persecution, yet have no one to turn to for protection in their home countries, will take in search of safety," the council's chief executive Maurice Wren said.

In a similar incident on Tuesday, police discovered 15 people from Kashmir and Eritrea in a truck, after road users heard shouts and banging coming from inside. The German driver was arrested, and has been bailed.

The number of trafficking victims discovered in Britain and Northern Ireland rose almost 50 percent last year compared to 2012, to 1,746, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The most common reason for trafficking was sexual exploitation, but other motives included being smuggled for cheap labour or domestic servants. Victim's countries of origin are most commonly Albania, Slovakia, Nigeria and Vietnam.

In the first three months of this year, 566 potential cases of trafficking were identified by police forces, local authorities, charities and Home Office officials.

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