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Driver Is Convicted of Guilty in Deaths in Dover

A Dutch driver was convicted Thursday of manslaughter in the deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants whose slow suffocation in the back of a tomato truck cast horrifying light on international trafficking of human beings.

Perry Wacker, 32, was found guilty by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court in London of 58 counts of manslaughter, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Justice Alan Moses said Wacker, who faced a possible maximum sentence of life, had “demonstrated cynical exploitation” of the victims.

Ying Guo, 29, of South Woodford, England, a Chinese interpreter who allegedly served as the victims’ British contact, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to smuggle immigrants. She was not immediately sentenced.

Shocked port officials in Dover, England, found the lifeless bodies packed with a shipment of tomatoes in a hot, nearly airless container that had just crossed the English Channel by ferry from Zeebrugge, Belgium, on June 18.

The dead Chinese, 54 men and four women, had paid tens of thousands of US dollars each to smuggling gangs known as “snake-heads” for the chance to begin a new life in the West. Only two migrants survived.

(eastday.com 04/06/2001)

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