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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Officers still have not named the victims"
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Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Two held over Dover tragedy
Dover docks
Forensic experts remove evidence from the scene
Two Chinese people charged with helping to smuggle into the UK 58 illegal immigrants who died in the back of a lorry at Dover have been remanded in custody.

You Yi, a 38-year-old chef from South Woodford, north-east London, and Guo Ying, 29, an interpreter of the same address, were arrested on Tuesday.

They have been charged with conspiracy to facilitate the immigrants' illegal entry into the UK. Two other members of the group survived.

The pair were remanded until Friday during a 50-minute hearing at Dover Magistrates Court. There was no application for bail.

Customs officers inspect a container
The container became air tight when a vent was shut
On Friday, the Dutch driver of the lorry, who has been accused of the manslaughter of the 58 immigrants, was also remanded in custody.

Perry Wacker, 32, of Rotterdam, Holland, faces one count of facilitating the illegal entry into the UK of two people, and one count of attempting to facilitate the illegal entry of 58 people as well as 58 counts of manslaughter.

He appeared at Folkestone magistrates on Friday morning.

Dutch police have also arrested the 24-year-old owner of the haulage company involved in the incident, believed to be Arie van der Spek.

But a spokesperson for the Belgian prosecutor's office said he was not immediately facing manslaughter or homicide charges.

Another man being questioned was released from Dutch custody on Thursday night, officials said.

The two survivors found in the container have been questioned briefly by specially-trained police officers using interpreters.

'Respiratory arrest'

Earlier, an inquest heard how the immigrants had desperately tried to raise the alarm as their oxygen supply ran out.

They banged on the side of the container with their shoes after an air vent was closed shortly before the lorry arrived at Zeebrugge, in Belgium.

They died from a lack of oxygen and a build up of carbon dioxide in the airtight container.

Coroner's officer Graham Perrin said the 54 men and four women would have died between an hour and a half and five hours after the vent was closed.

The people would have been gasping for breath and would go into respiratory arrest.

Graham Perrin
Coroner's officer
He said he was amazed that two men had survived the journey, a result of more air becoming available after the death of each of its occupants.

"It would appear that at some 90 minutes into the journey and realising the situation they were in, attempts were made by the occupants of the trailer to raise the alarm."

He said the immigrants would have become slowly short of breath, hot and sweaty.

"They attempted to open the vent from within and moved the stack of tomatoes to one side to attempt to open the rear doors," Mr Perrin said.

He said carbon dioxide would have quickly built up inside the airtight container which would have resulted in irreversible cerebral anoxia - an absence of oxygen.

"Death would have been fairly rapid once the CO2 build up got to critical levels," Mr Perrin said.

Anyone with information should ring Kent Police's casualty bureau on 0645 441551.

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