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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Ashlie Blakey

Manslaughter arrest after four Vietnamese men die in horror Oldham mill fire

A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after four Vietnamese men were killed in a devastating mill fire.

Uoc Van Nguyen, 31, Cuong Van Chu, 39, Duong Van Nguyen, 29, and 21-year-old Nam Thanh Lee died after a blaze broke out at the Bismark House mill on Bower Street in Oldham on May 7 last year. It wasn't until demolition work began on the site that workers uncovered human remains on July 23.

Police believe the men are likely to have been victims of modern-day slavery. Officers also found evidence part of the mill was being used as a cannabis farm.

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Today (May 11), police said a 34-year-old man had been arrested in connection with their deaths. The man is being quizzed by detectives on suspicion of manslaughter, cultivation of cannabis and participation in the activities of an organised crime group.

Officers made the arrest as they also carried out multiple raids at five homes and two commercial properties in Oldham and Ashton-under-Lyne. Two men who were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and other offences in connection with the case were released on bail last year.

They remain on bail, police said today. Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies said: "Though a year has passed since the fire and nine months since the discovery of these men’s remains, the criminal investigation is still very much open.

The scene of the fire on Bower Street (Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News)

"Behind the scenes, a team of detectives have been speaking to witnesses and reviewing evidence – leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to find answers for the bereaved.

"We are really thankful to those who have assisted us with our enquiries so far but know that it is highly likely there are others out there who have information about how these men ended up in Bismark House Mill, about activity at the mill in the weeks before the fire and about the fire itself.

"As we continue to do all we can, I appeal to anyone with information to contact us directly or anonymously."

Anyone with information should contact Greater Manchester Police via 101. In an emergency, always dial 999. International callers can contact GMP via +44161 872 5050. Anyone who would like to remain anonymous can share information via the independent charity – Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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