Its luck of the draw: How laughing people smuggler sickeningly dismissed the deaths of 39 migrants in Essex lorry tragedy as he offered to smuggle undercover reporter into UK by the same route for 14k

Kastrijot Ahmati, who lives in Walthamstow in NE London, said he makes money by trafficking people to UK

He told our undercover reporter that he came from Albania, illegally smuggled here in the back of a lorry

Fake papers to fly from Tirana, Albania, to London would have cost the reporter a total of 17,000

For a life-risking journey in the back of a lorry, which has killed 39 this week, it would cost a total of  14,000

ByJake RyanandMark Hookham For The Mail On Sunday

Published:22:00 GMT, 26 October 2019Updated:10:42 GMT, 27 October 2019

A people smuggler has laughed off the fate of the 39 migrants found dead in a shipping container, saying: It is the luck of the draw.

The British-based trafficker made the cruel comment as he offered to sneak an undercover reporter into the UK using the same route which ended in such tragedy last week.

Separately, Maurice Robinson, the 25-year-old lorry driver who went to collect the container, was last night charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

Just hours after news of the appalling discovery of the bodies last week, our reporters discovered that a UK-based Albanian using the pseudonym Kace Kace was offering to help smuggle migrants into the country.

The Mail on Sunday has established that he is, in fact, called Kastrijot Ahmati and lives in Walthamstow, North East London. He claims to have been illegally smuggled into the UK in the back of a lorry himself.

Kastrijot Ahmati, pictured, advertises his trafficking services, displaying his phone number on a Facebook page called Albanians in London. He said that he came to London on the back of a lorry himself and referred to the deaths of the 39 people in the container in Essex this week as the luck of the draw

Ahmati advertised his services and posted his mobile number on a Facebook page called Albanians in London, which has more than 16,000 followers.

When an undercover reporter contacted him, he told her she could pay 17,000 for fake papers that would allow her to fly from the Albanian capital, Tirana.

Alternatively, she could pay 14,000 to be stowed away in the back of a lorry from Belgium the origin of the container in which the 39 people died last week.

Speaking on Friday, just two days after the grim discovery at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, Ahmati told the undercover reporter that the trip from Belgium can take between 12 and 16 hours, depending on whether the ferry is delayed.

From left to right: Vietnamese nationals: Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20; Hoang Van Tiep;  Pham Thi Tra My, 26

From left to right: Vietnamese nationals: Nguyen Dinh Tu; Vo Ngoc Nam, 28; Hung Nguyen, 33

In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 British Police forensics officers work on lorry, found to be containing 39 dead bodies

Undercover reporter (R): Did you hear the news? 39 people died inside a lorry.

People Trafficker (T): It is the luck of the draw – that is how we all came.

R: I am scared to be honest, I just want a safe route, how safe is it? I am scared to stay in the lorry for 16 hours.

T: Minimum is 12 hours, nothing less than that.

T: I do not know what to say, I am showing you the quickest and shortest route to the UK, I swaer to god.

I have done it myself, he said. I am trying to find you the easiest way, do you understand?

The reporter claimed she wanted to travel with another family member, but she was told they would have to be smuggled with other migrants otherwise the people trafficking gang would makes no profit.

She would pay on arrival in the UK, but Ahmati demanded the details of a friend in London who would guarantee the money.

Smartly dressed and sipping a Costa coffee, Kastrijot Ahmati does not stand out in a crowd.

But todays investigation by The Mail on Sunday exposes him as part of a vile people smuggling network that puts the lives of desperate migrants at risk for profit. Brazenly posting his mobile number on Facebook, Ahmati offers to help smuggle people into the UK for between 14,000 and 17,000.

In a Facebook video call with our undercover reporter, he shrugged off the deadly risks of stowing away in a lorry and laughed at the horrific death of 39 migrants last week.

He told her that being smuggled in a truck from Belgium was safe and that he had travelled into the UK by lorry himself. I have done it myself. I came myself with the group that I mentioned to you, with my compatriots.

When the reporter said she was scared after last weeks tragedy, the trafficker sneered: It is the luck of the draw. That is how we all came.

Our investigator repeated her concerns, saying, We will die, but Ahmati simply laughed and declared: I do not know what to say, I am showing you the quickest and shortest route to the UK, I swear to God.

Then, in a sign that it is business as usual for the traffickers despite the tragedy in Essex, he told our investigator to be prepared to travel imminently. Maybe they will say at the end of the week, do you understand?

When the reporter said she was scared because of last weeks tragedy, the trafficker replied: It is the luck of the draw. That is how we all came.

When she continued to voice her fears, saying, We will die, Ahmati simply laughed.

The trafficker is believed to be from Has, a district in northern Albania, from which hundreds of migrants are thought to have left for the UK. It is not known how long he has lived in Britain, although Facebook posts suggest he has been here since at least September 2018. Earlier this month, he posted a video of himself smoking a cigarette and strolling around outside a London train station.

When approached for comment last night, Ahmati answered the phone and confirmed he was in the UK. Speaking via a friend, he claimed he had been joking in the messages posted online and during the telephone call. In response to a WhatsApp message asking him to explain his actions, he replied why. His Kace Kace Facebook account was taken down shortly afterwards.

Our investigation found Ahmati was one of four agents using the Albanians in London Facebook page to help migrants smuggle their way into the UK.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) last year said Albanian gangs operating at the higher end of sophistication were largely responsible for the surge in migrants being smuggled into the UK.

The total number of known victims of modern slavery and trafficking rocketed by 80 per cent between 2016 and 2018 to 6,993, according to NCA figures. The victims came from 130 countries with the most foreign nationals 1,625 coming from Albania.

Last night David Wood, former director-general of immigration enforcement at the Home Office, explained how Albanian traffickers operated: What tends to happen is the groups have agents in source countries. That will include China, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent. These agents will be peddling the mythical, Get to the UK, its the land of milk and honey.

Last night our dossier of material, including Ahmatis identity, was made available to the Metropolitan Police. A force spokesman said any relevant information would be passed to investigating officers.

The trucker arrested after the horrific discovery of a lorry containing the bodies of 39 people was last night charged with manslaughter.

Driver charged over 39 lorry deaths: Police probe claim truck was in convoy of three carrying 100 migrants

After three days in custody, Maurice Mo Robinson was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, as well as conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

Robinson, 25, from Craigavon, County Armagh in Northern Ireland, will appear before Chelmsford Magistrates tomorrow.

Mo Robinson is the truck driver arrested after 39 people were found dead in the back of a lorry he was driving

Meanwhile a second lorry driver in his 20s was arrested yesterday at Dublins port. Last night he was in custody.

Also being held were a couple from Warrington, Cheshire, who were arrested on Friday.

The arrest of the second lorry driver came as it was claimed that the refrigerated trailer in which the dead migrants were found may have been part of a larger convoy of three lorries carrying up to 100 people.

According to a Catholic priest representing families who fear their loved ones are among the dead, the other two lorry trailers and their human cargo are believed to have made it safely into the UK.

Father Anthony Dang Huu Nam, a Catholic priest from Nghe An, a province in Central Vietnam, said bereaved families have come forward to tell him that 100 people were making their way to Britain for a new life.

He said: In this case, there were many people, more than 100 people, on their way to a better life, but 39 died. A few families have confirmed the deaths of their relatives, who are the victims of this tragic journey.

The priest added: When I learned of the news of people who were on their way to the UK in search of a new life but [who] lost their lives instead its not just the district of Yen Than, but the whole country that is in sorrow. This is a tragedy the whole country has to bear.

It is now thought that as many as 25 of the 39 victims are Vietnamese and from the same impoverished coastal region of Yen Than.

Relatives said several were going to work in nail salons.

The family of Pham Thi Tra My revealed she had sent heart-rending text messages as she was suffocating inside the container as it crossed the English Channel.

The 26-year-old, from rural Ha Thin in Central Vietnam, wrote: Im sorry Dad and Mom.

As police in the UK continue their investigations into the 39 migrants who lost their lives trying to enter the country, we keep track of who has been arrested so far.

Lorry driver Maurice Mo Robinson:Charged with 39 counts of manslaughter over the deaths of 39 people found in a trailer in Grays, Essex

Mo Robinson is the truck driver arrested after 39 people were found dead in the back of a lorry he was driving

Joanna Maher, 38, and her husband Thomas, also 38:The Warrington couple who previously told MailOnline they had sold the container are understood to have been held on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter.

Mrs Maher, a mother-of-three, pictured with her trucker boss husband Thomas, told MailOnline that she sold the lorry involved in the deaths of 39 migrants to an Irish haulage firm 13 months ago

48-year-old man from Northern Ireland:The latest arrest took place at Stansted Airport. The identity of the man has not yet been revealed, but police said he has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and suspicion of manslaughter.

20-year-old man from Northern Ireland:The man was arrested after getting off a ferry on Saturday afternoon. A blue Scania truck that he was driving has been impounded by the police.

The way I went overseas was not successful … Im dying because I cant breathe. Mom, I am so sorry.

Her father, Pham Van Thin, who lives in a hut with a corrugated tin roof and earns around 300 per month, yesterday said he and his wife, Nguyen Thi Phong, had scraped together 30,000 to send their daughter to the West for a better life. Ive lost both my loved one and my money, he said.

Mr Pham said the traffickers did not tell him how they would smuggle their daughter to the UK, but knew she had gone via China and France. The smugglers said that this was a safe route, that people would go by airplane, car.

If I had known she would go by this route, I would not have let her go, he told CNN. Hoang Thi Thuong, from Nghe An province, fears her husband Nguyen Dinh Tu is also a victim. He paid 11,000 to smugglers to get to Britain but has not been heard from since October 21.

Ms Hoang revealed he had been working illegally in Romania and Germany and had begged her for money to get to the UK.

She said: I have a big debt to pay, no hope, and no energy to do anything.

I know he was in that truck because I have relatives who are working over there [in the UK] who called me and told me.

They were supposed to pick him up at the drop point but then they called and told me Tu was in that truck.

Father-of-two Vo Ngoc Nam, 28, is also feared to have been in the ill-fated container.

His wife, Ta Thi Oanh, told Vietnamese media that he had called her last Tuesday afternoon to say he was on the truck going to Britain.

He asked her to call her parents and ask them to pray for him, but has not been heard of since. Mr Nams father, Vo Ngoc Luyen, said: After reading information about the 39 people in the container in the UK, my family is extremely shocked. We are anxiously waiting for official information from the authorities.

Others who may be involved are Anna Bui Thi Nhung, 19, whose parents have set up an altar with her photograph at their home; Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, whose father received a call last week from a Vietnamese man saying something unexpected happened and cousins Hung Nguyen, 33, and Hoang Van Tiep.

Their aunt posted photographs on social media in the hope that they might be found alive.

The refrigerated lorry container left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on Tuesday afternoon, arriving at Purfleet Docks just after midnight on Wednesday.

The trailer is alleged to have been picked up by Mr Robinson at around 12.30am, before being driven to nearby Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays.

Around 1.40am, ambulance and police services were called when bodies were discovered inside the trailer.

In an effort to gather more intelligence, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Passmore, of Essex Police, said any friends or relatives of victims who came forward would be granted an amnesty from prosecution if they were in the UK illegally themselves.

We will take no action whatsoever against an individual that comes forward, he said. I want to engage as much as I can with the Vietnamese community.

There may well be people who are here illegally who think they may have lost a loved one, and are frightened to come forward.

He spoke as the bodies of all 39 victims were removed from the lorry container at a secure location in Tilbury docks and taken to a mortuary at the Moorfield Hospital in nearby Chelmsford.

Police said that fingerprints of the deceased had been taken and sent to Vietnam for fast-track identification.

VietHome, a British organisation which tries to help UK-based Vietnamese residents, said it had been sent 20 photographs and names of people feared to have been inside the lorry container.

Last night, Thomas Maher, 38, the boss of a haulage company from Warrington, Cheshire, and his wife Joanna, 38, were in custody after being arrested in connection to the deaths.

A 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland, who was arrested at Stansted Airport, also remains in custody.

Federal police in Belgium are studying CCTV footage of the haulier who transported the 39 migrants into Zeebrugge site.

It has emerged that the driver was picked up by CCTV cameras ten times at the port.

Dreams of a better life: Faces of the migrants killed in death truck tragedy emerge as desperate families name their sons and daughters amid fears 25 of the 39 victims were from the same impoverished Vietnamese village

Hoping for a better life, here are the faces of the 39 people who are believed to have frozen to death in the back of a truck after a desperate attempt to reach Britain.

The victims were discovered naked, or with minimal clothing, and had been desperately banging on the doors for help and had foam coming from their mouths.

The bodies of eight women and 31 men could have been frozen in the truck for several days when they were discovered on Wednesday in Grays, Essex, after the container criss-crossed the Channel via refugee hotspots.

It is now thought that as many as 25 of the 39 victims are Vietnamese and from the same impoverished coastal region of Yen Than.

Relatives said several were going to work in nail salons.

Relatives of victims are said to have received visits from gangs offering them refunds for the failed journeys, The Sun reports.

The Vietnamese migrants are all thought to have travelled from the same district, the Can Loc district, which is pictured right. In text messages sent at 10.28pm GMT on Tuesday, Pham Thi Tra told her mother, I love you so much…Im sorry. Pictured left, the screenshot of Tra Mys last text

VietHome, a British organisation which tries to help UK-based Vietnamese residents, said it had been sent 20 photographs and names of people feared to have been inside the lorry container.

Seven suspected victims have so far come to light, Anna Bui Thi Nhung, Pham Thi Tra My, Nguyen Dinh Luong, Nguyen Dinh Tu, Vo Ngoc Nam and cousins Hung Nguyen and Hoang Van Tiep.

All 39 people have been moved from Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and are being formally identified.

An aspiring nail technician who paid almost 8,800 in a desperate attempt to make it to Britain

Anna Bui Thi Nhung, 19, from Vietnam paid an agent over $10,000 with the hope of entering the U.K.

Anna Bui Thi Nhung, 19, from Vietnampaid an agent over $10,000 with the hope of entering the U.K. to work as a nail technician, according to a relative.

Her mother and a sister today cried as they set up an altar with incense and a photo of the suspected victim where family and friends can pray at their home in Do Thanh village.

The family heard from a friend living in the UK that Nhung is one of the victims, said one of her relatives, who was visiting the missing teens mother.

Nhung and many others from Yen Thanh district, where the village is located, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Hanoi, travel abroad looking to make the type of money they cannot earn back home. One of their main goals is to send back enough to allow their families to build large homes that they would otherwise be unable to afford.

On October 21, days before her family lost contact with her and the news of the doomed shipping container emerged, Nhung wrote in a Facebook post: Being grown up means having to hide your sadness in the dark, and keeping a smile on your face.

Nhungs family said she first left Nhung on her journey overseas in August. She went to China first, before eventually making her way to Germany, then Belgium, where they believe she boarded the fated truck.

I just want a peaceful life, Nhung wrote in a caption beneath a photo of her smiling in a green field a few weeks after leaving Vietnam.

She posted Such a beautiful day below pictures of herself at different tourist stops in Brussels last Saturday.

Late on Saturday night, Nhungs family, devoid of hope, set up an altar in her memory, with her photo next to her fathers.

Her father died of cancer a few years ago. Her mother was unable to work because of health complications and so her loved ones clubbed together to finance a new life overseas, Nhungs family told Reuters.

Nhung didnt have the qualifications to get a good job with handsome pay. Nor do her friends and many others here, said Nhungs uncle, Hoang Binh.

Going abroad and sending back money was the only choice, he added.

By early September, it was not clear where she was, but Nhung was already well into her trip, and reflecting on her next steps.

Beside a stock image of two children flying kites at sunset, she posted: As I grow up, I see that life is not as peaceful as I used to think. When I grow up, I want to go back to my childhood, when I lived freely.

Ton Quang Tuan, one of Nhungs friends living in Berlin, said that We went out a few times when Nhung was in Berlin and added that she was in a good mood, very happy, but they lost contact after she said she had to leave for Britain.

It was not clear how Nhung had travelled from the Vietnamese countryside to China and then Berlin, but the German capital has emerged in recent years as a staging ground for Vietnamese and other migrants looking to start new lives in Britain.

I feel lonely in the place I used to dream of everyday, Nhung wrote on September 25.

It was unclear where she was – Vietnamese smugglers are said to advise their subjects to live discreetly and not to give away too many clues in order to evade detection from the authorities.

A few days later, Nhung was pictured outside Berlin Cathedral with a cup of bubble tea in her hands.

By late October, Nhung was in Belgium. She posted photos of herself, again with a cup of bubble tea in her hand, excitedly exploring the sights of Brussels, including the old stock exchange and the bustling Rue Auguste Orts thoroughfare.

It was from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge that the doomed container eventually departed. Her family believe that she was on board.

In Berlin, Nhung wrote: Back in Vietnam, I thought Europe was pink. But it turns out its black.

Sorry mum, I cant breathe: The harrowing messages sent from inside the lorry by a victim who only wanted a better life

Suspected victim Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent her mother a series of harrowing messages telling her she loved her and was dying because she couldnt breathe in the moments before her death, her family have claimed

Suspected victim Pham Thi Tra My, 26, from Vietnam sent her mother a series of harrowing messages telling her she loved her and was dying because she couldnt breathe in the moments before her death, her family have claimed.

They claim to have paid people smugglers 30,000 for their daughter to travel to the UK via China in search of a better life.

She is from Ha Tinh, an impoverished province in a part of Vietnam where many of the countrys illegal migrants come from.

Nguyen Thi Phong and Pham Van Thin, told CNN it was very painful to receive the text – saying she must have known she was going to die when she sent it.

Ive lost both my loved one and my money, her father Pham said, claiming he and his partner scraped together the money to pay for their daughter to travel to the UK.

The pair, who make around $400 a month between them, said the smugglers did not tell them how their daughter would be transported to the UK.

The smugglers said that this was a … safe route, that people would go by airplane, car … if I had known she would go by this route, I would not have let her go, Pham added.

A human rights worker in Vietnam, who has spoken with Tra Mys family, revealed she made the perilous journey because her family was in debt and she was desperately trying to help them.

She had just returned from Japan where she was working to try and pay off the debt. And that was not enough and so she looked for a better future, she told the BBC.

Asking to remain anonymous, the human rights worker continued: For this girl it is very sad that she took the risk because she was dealing with debt that was created by another man in the family.

And I also learnt that the service that she was using was called very important service and so it is like a business class ticket on the lorry and with that she had to pay double or three times the price of the cheap ticket.

The human rights worker added that migrants are told they can vast amounts of money by moving to the UK, and the 26-year-old may have been convinced to purchase a VIP ticket to get there.

He family mortgaged the house to get that money for her, the human rights worked added.

Pham Thi Tras last text messages were sent at 10.28pm BST on Tuesday – two hours before the truck reached the UK, as it was en route from Belgium.

She told her mother: Im sorry Mum. My journey abroad hasnt succeeded. Mum, I love you so much. Im dying because I cant breathe.

Tra Mys brother told the BBC on Friday that his sister had told them not to contact her because the organisers did not allow her to receive calls.

He said she flew to China from her home in Can Lộc, a rural district of H Tĩnh Province in Vietnam, then left for France and initially attempted to cross the border into the UK on October 19, but got caught and turned back.

A 20-year-old man from an impoverished Vietnamese province with dreams of a better life in Britain

Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, planned to work in a nail salon when he got to Britain

Another of the suspected victims was revealed to be Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20.

His father Nguyen Dinh Gia said his son told him two weeks ago he planned to travel to Britain from France, where he had been living illegally since 2018.

He said he would pay $14,000 for the journey and planned to work in a nail salon when he got to Britain.

But Gia got a call several days ago from a Vietnamese man saying Please have some sympathy, something unexpected happened, he told AFP.

I fell to the ground when I heard that, Gia told AFP.

It seemed that he was in the truck with the accident, all of them dead, he added.

His father told The Associated Press he had not been able to reach him since last week. He had said he would join a group in Paris that was trying to reach England.

He often called home but I havent been able to reach him since the last time we talked last week, Nguyen Dinh Gia said. I told him that he could go to anywhere he wants as long as its safe. He shouldnt worry about money, Ill take care of it.

He said his son left home in central Ha Tinh province to work in Russia in 2017, then on to Ukraine. In April 2018, he arrived in Germany then traveled to France. He told his family that he wanted to go to the UK.

Luongs older brother, Pham Dinh Hai, said that Luong had a tattoo of praying hands on a cross on his right shoulder. The family said they shared the information with local authorities.

His wife is left with debts to the tune of 11,000 after his tragic crossing

One of the newly named victims, Nguyen Dinh Tu, left,. Father-of-two Vo Ngoc Nam, 28, is also feared to have been in the ill-fated container, right.

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One of the newly named suspected victims, Nguyen Dinh Tu, had a few months ago asked his wife Hoang Thi Thuong to help him raise 11,000 ($14,000) to cover the cost of an illicit trip from Germany to the United Kingdom.

Ms Hoang revealed he had been working illegally in Romania and Germany and had begged her for money to get to the UK.

I lost contact with him on October 21, Thuong said with tears in her eyes. I have a big debt to pay, no hope, and no energy to do anything.

Tus father said relatives in the United Kingdom had told him that Tu was inside the truck, and had been planning to pick him up.

They were supposed to pick him up at the drop-off point but they called and said Tu was in that truck, Tus father, Nguyen Dinh Sat, said.

Father-of-two Vo Ngoc Nam, 28, is also feared to have been in the ill-fated container.

His wife, Ta Thi Oanh, told Vietnamese media that he had called her last Tuesday afternoon to say he was on the truck going to Britain.

He asked her to call her parents and ask them to pray for him, but has not been heard of since.

Mr Nams father, Vo Ngoc Luyen, said: After reading information about the 39 people in the container in the UK, my family is extremely shocked. We are anxiously waiting for official information from the authorities.

Cousins Hung Nguyen, 33, and Hoang Van Tiep were both feared to be in the container.

Their aunt posted photographs on social media in the hope that they might be found alive.

Cousins Hung Nguyen, 33, (right) and Hoang Van Tiep (left) were both feared to be in the container

Three cars with personalised number plates belonging to Irish haulage boss and his wife, both 38, are seized by police as the couple are quizzed over Essex lorry migrant deaths

Police yesterday seized cars belonging to an Irish haulage boss and his wife who are being quizzed by detectives over the deaths of 39 migrants.

The vehicles a white Chevrolet Corvette, grey Range Rover Sport and Discovery Sport with personalised number plates, and a Kawasaki motor bike are owned by Thomas and Joanna Maher, both 38.

The couple were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people after a dramatic early morning raid on their 400,000 home in Warringto