Alleged kidnap victim had plan to get debtors off her back

AN IPSWICH court heard the alleged victim of an extortion scheme who was locked in a shipping container overnight with her husband told another woman she had a plan to involve police to get the people chasing her for money off her back.

My Le again took the stand in the fourth day of the Ipswich District Court trial of Van Dat Vu, who pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including kidnapping, deprivation of liberty and extortion of a married couple of 39 years.

The crown are placing Vu at the centre of the scheme which involved the alleged abduction of Ha Thi Pham and her husband Van Tien Hoang, who were then thrown into a shipping container on a Richlands property in January 2017 and told they would not be let out until they paid $1million.

Ms Pham owed Ms Le a total of $1.4million as a result of a gambling problem and owed money to other debtors as well.

The court heard Ms Le herself was in debt to people and was struggling with people wanting repayments, at one point contemplating moving interstate or suicides.

It was from Ms Le's home that Ms Pham was allegedly kidnapped on January 14, 2017.

Ms Le told the court via an interpreter in late 2016 Ms Pham said to her she didn't need to worry as she would "get police involved so people stop chasing us for money".

Ms Le said Ms Pham had told her she had done something similar 10 or 20 years ago and such a plan had been brought up in conversation on many occasions.

But Ms Le said that was as far as the conversations went. On the morning of the alleged kidnapping, Ms Pham arrived at Ms Le's home to drop off $3000 cash in $100 notes.

When Ms Le went to her bedroom for "one or two minutes" to note the repayment, Ms Pham was gone, leaving behind her purse, hat, phone and one of her thongs.

She said she wasn't alarmed and did not call police as Ms Pham had been known to act strangely and she would contact her later.

Under questioning from defence barrister Dominic Nguyen, Ms Le said she had asked to borrow $200,000 from her friend of 10 years Vu at the end of 2016 to help with her financial problems but she never got the money.

On the day of the alleged kidnapping, she visited his Darra grocery store to borrow $1000.

Vu's son, Nghia Van Vu, also took the stand yesterday.

He told the court he was living at the large block at 340 Freeman Rd, Richlands property when the alleged incident is said to have happened.

The court heard the rear of the house, where the shipping container is located, is surrounded by junk and dense shrub and Nghia said only his father would be able to navigate through

The 22-year-old said he was working at his dad's store on the day of the alleged kidnapping and said he regularly saw his father there throughout the day.

After returning home, he went out at 10pm and returned at 3am to be woken up by police.