Woman from Bow jailed over Vietnamese people smuggling ring

A woman who ran the UK arm of a people smuggling gang operating out of Vietnam has been jailed for five years.

Thuy Nguyen, 41, was part of a criminal network that would charge up to �12,000 to traffick illegal immigrants from the South East Asian country to Europe via Moscow or Paris.

UK Border Agency staff swooped on her home in Mornington Grove, Bow in February in an operation that involved teams in six cities on the Continent.

Nguyen was found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration at Maidstone Crown Court last week.

The Vietnamese national first came to the attention of the authorities after her car was pulled over by traffic police at Clackett Lane Service Station on the M25 last November.

She was found to have two passengers, both illegal Vietnamese immigrants, alongside �11,000 cash in a plastic bag.

Nguyen was later linked to a group being investigated by French police.

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At the same time as her arrest in February, co-ordinated raids for other members of the gang took place in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Munich and Budapest.

More than 30 gang members were arrested in total.

Andy Cummins, head of the Border Agency’s South East crime team, said: “This was a major pan-European investigation involving law enforcement agencies in five European countries.

“Human trafficking is a brutal form of organised crime where people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain.”

Agency officials are now trying to recover some of the cash made by Nguyen and have launched a Proceeds of Crime investigation.