Vietnamese migrant, 32, paid £16,000 for ‘metal coffin’ trip to UK only to be kicked out

A Vietnamese migrant has revealed how he paid £16,000 for a trip in a ‘metal coffin’ to the UK before immigration officials sent him home. 

Nguyen Dung revealed his harrowing journey to the UK after 39 people died in a refrigerated lorry in Grays, Essex.

He came from a tiny village to work at curry shop in Birmingham, West Midlands, because he was desperate for a better quality of life. 

When the 32-year-old got to Britain, he found himself working 18-hour days for seven days a week. Mr Dung was deported in 2017 and bought himself and his family a new brick house in his home country.

Pictured: Police at the scene in Grays, Essex, where a lorry containing the bodies of 39 people was discovered 

He told the Mirror Online: ‘Never do you expect to be put in a frozen coffin, but the potential rewards outweigh the risks. For those few who don’t make it, hundreds, if not thousands, do.’

Mr Dung would send more than £1,000 home to his family each month during the two years in which he stayed in England.

He now lives in Ha Tinh in Nghe An province after immigration officials booted him out.

Mr Dung paid for this house with wages he earned working the UK and says he was desperate to escape poverty

Mr Dung paid for this house with wages he earned working the UK and says he was desperate to escape poverty

Despite the deaths and exploitation that await some people who smuggle themselves to the West, Mr Dung is happy he took the risk. 

‘The paddy fields that once provided me with a living now stand in stagnant water as we drown in a mountain of debt,’ he said. ‘The only way out is to risk our lives and try to reach the UK, where the money can support all our families and pay off our debts.’

His remarks come after it emerged that a 15-year-old, Nguyen Huy Hung, is feared to be the youngest victim of the Essex tragedy.

The teenager’s sister revealed that she lost contact with him on October 22, just one day before the 39 bodies were found.

She posted on Facebook: ‘On Monday evening, my brother left France for the UK and we haven’t been able to contact him since then.’

Another victim’s father was told about his son’s death by a trafficker who had profited from smuggling him into the UK. Mr Dung said that the planning of the gangs is comparable to a military operation. 

Pictured: A shrine to Nguyen Dinh Tu, who died on his way to Britain, leaving his 70-year-old father grief-stricken

Pictured: A shrine to Nguyen Dinh Tu, who died on his way to Britain, leaving his 70-year-old father grief-stricken 

He was trafficked into Hanoi in 2011 then flew to the Czech Republic on a tourist visa for £4,600.

He had to shell out another £800 before landing in Europe. After spending a week in Prague, he forked out another £1,000 to go to Germany.

His bid to claim asylum failed so he fled to Dresden and paid another £9,000 to get into Britain. 

Mr Dung says that people are wrong to assume it’s gangs who seek out vulnerable people.

He says that debt and poverty encourage people to seek out the smugglers in order to secure passage.   

But he says that he is still at the mercy of gangsters running his area, which is the same region that was home to all but four of the Essex victims. 

Yards from his home, the bereaved relatives of Essex lorry victim Le Van Ha, 30, are mourning.  

In the hamlet, new homes built with cash sent home from Europe stand in stark contrast to the original rickety homes.

One local, Nguyen Dinh Sat is now grieving for his son, Nguyen Dinh Tu, as he lives in the palatial home he had built.

The 26-year-old went to Romania last year after farming in his home area collapsed. He worked for £400 a month in a Romanian factory.

It wasn’t enough to pay off the loan he’d taken out to build his house and his wife, Hoang This Thuong, was unable to feed their one-year-old daughter properly.

He was desperate to come to the UK for more cash, so his family paid £11,000 to smugglers.

His father told the Mirror that a gang trafficked his son from Vietnam to Romania then to Germany and France before he died in a trailer.

Traffickers told the 70-year-old that his son had died because he was terrified of the bank taking his house away. He says he never imagined the risk would be so grave.