Glimpse inside shipping container where alleged victims held
AN Ipswich court got a glimpse inside the shipping container where a married couple was allegedly held overnight with the threat of being left there unless they coughed up $1 million.
The trial of Van Dat Vu, who pleaded not guilty to eight charges including extortion, kidnapping and deprivation of liberty, has played out in the Ipswich District Court this week with the Crown's case said to expose the "underbelly" of Ipswich and Brisbane involving the tight-knit Vietnamese communities who call the region home.
It is being alleged Ha Thi Pham and husband Van Tien Hoang were taken from two different locations by two masked men, tied up and thrown into a shipping container on Vu's Richlands property on June 14, 2017.
The court heard this week the couple was told they would not be freed unless they paid $1 million, but escaped in the early hours of the next morning. They stumbled out of dense shrub and onto Freeman Rd into the path of a police car.
Yesterday, the court was shown police photographs of the back of Vu's large Freeman Rd property. The pictures revealed an unkempt and overgrown section of land filled with junk including vehicles.
Police conducting forensic testing on the container and its contents gained access through a hole in the fence at the front of the property.
The photos showed the old and rusted white shipping container, surrounded by trees, vines and shrubs and with tree branches hanging over the doors.
Wire could be seen wrapped around the doors and there were two coils of wire on the ground outside the container.
A small dirt track led police from the edge of the property to the scene of the alleged crimes.
Photos showed packets of food, iced tea, water bottles and crumpled black adhesive tape as well as a black zip tie.
Earlier in the week, the court heard Ms Pham had been taken from the Inala home of another Vietnamese woman, My Le.
Ms Pham told the court she owed Ms Le $1.4 million and thousands of dollars to other women, including business owners in the Inala Civic Centre.
On the morning of the alleged kidnapping, Ms Pham went to Ms Le's home to drop off $3000 in $100 notes as part of her repayment. Under questioning, Ms Le said she went into another room to note the payment and when she returned less than two minutes later Ms Pham was gone. She said she was not worried and did not alert police as Ms Pham had a history of acting strangely.