"This is an international criminal world where many gangs are making lots of money"
*UPDATE*: all victims have since been identified as Vietnamese.
The BBC reports that 39 Chinese nationals, including one teenager, were found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Essex, UK.
Mo Robinson, the driver of the lorry, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He is currently being questioned by the police.
The lorry arrived in Purfleet on Wednesday from Zeebrugge in Belgium at 00:30 BST.
Police were alerted to Industrial Park in Grays just after 01:30 BST on Wednesday where ambulance staff found the bodies of 38 adults and one teenager in the container.
Temperatures in the refrigerated container can be as low as -25C.
Officers in Northern Ireland have since raided two houses. The National Crime Agency believes the incident is related to “organised crime groups.”
The Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office has also opened a case focusing on those involved in the transport of the vehicle.
It was originally believed that the lorry came from Bulgaria. A spokesman for the Bulgarian foreign affairs ministry stated that the truck was registered in the country under the name of a company owned by an Irish citizen.
Robinson is originally from Laurelvale in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Councillor Paul Berry said their local village was in “complete shock” about the arrest of the 25-year-old.
“The local community is hoping that [Robinson] has been caught up innocently in this matter but that’s in the hands of Essex Police, and we will leave it in their professional hands to try to catch the perpetrators of this,” he said.
Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price called for an international response.
“We have partnerships in place but those efforts need to be rebooted, this is an international criminal world where many gangs are making lots of money and until states act collectively to tackle that it is going to continue,” she said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the incident was an “unimaginable tragedy and truly heartbreaking”.