Kent

Vietnamese boy found in suitcase thanks English people

Phong's letter Image copyright KCC
Image caption Phong wrote a letter to thank England for saving him when he was found seriously ill in a suitcase

A teenage victim of people smuggling found squashed in a suitcase has written a thank you letter to English people.

Phong, originally from Vietnam, was in a life-threatening condition when he was found stowed in the back of a car in Dover last year.

The 16-year-old spent six days in hospital. His smuggler Andrei Iancu, from Romania, was jailed for 18 months.

In his thank you letter Phong said he never believed he would be loved.

He said he woke up in hospital scared and in pain but "kind people" smiled at him and gave him biscuits, oranges and water.

Phong, now 17, has since been fostered by a family in Ashford, Kent, through the county's social services. He is now learning English and Maths.

His letter read: "Dear England, I'm writing a letter to tell you what a difference you have made to my life. You have saved my life. You have given me a family and a home."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Phong was discovered during checks at the Port of Dover

He wrote: "Now I have a mum, brother, sister, grandad. At first I couldn't speak English very well. We practiced every day.

"Thank you for finding me, making me better in hospital. Thank you for giving me a family.

"I never believed I would be loved. There is now a big rainbow in my life instead of darkness."

Phong's foster carer Christine Burge said: "Phong is an incredible young man who has grown so much since he arrived. He makes me very proud every day.

"He really is the most caring and determined boy I have ever met."

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