A TEENAGER who was arrested in Redditch over his alleged involvement in a fatal people-smuggling operation has lost his appeal against extradition.
Ngo Sy Tai is wanted in Belgium over allegations he ran a ‘safe house’ for his fellow Vietnamese nationals in Anderlecht, Brussels.
He is suspected of having been involved in transporting at least ten of the 39 found dead inside the back of a lorry in Essex in October 2019.
Prosecutors, who allege he was a member of a criminal network involved in people smuggling, said Tai moved those ten from that safe house to a location near the French/Belgian border, before they boarded the lorry.
It is alleged he fled to the UK after hearing the migrants had died having suffocated in the container.
Tai was later arrested at a Redditch address in December 2020.
On April 8, Westminster Magistrates Court approved his extradition to Belgium to face trial which, if convicted, could see him jailed for decades.
The National Crime Agency’s head of organised immigration crime, Miles Bonfield, said: “We are working closely with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond to disrupt and dismantle organise criminal networks involved in people smuggling.
“The arrest of Tai demonstrates that in action and demonstrates our continued determination to get justice for the families of those who so tragically died in October 2019.
“People smuggling is a horrendous trade where those involved treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from and do not care about their safety or wellbeing.”
The extradition follows the convictions of several people in the UK for their roles in the events which led to the Essex deaths, including four men who were found guilty of manslaughter.