Man details escape from container in alleged kidnap scheme

A MAN has detailed how he and his wife escaped from the confines of shipping container after allegedly being kidnapped and left inside overnight with the threat of being kept there unless they paid $1 million.

Van Tien Hoang took the stand in day three of the Ipswich District Court trial of Van Dat Vu, who pleaded not guilty to eight charges including kidnapping, deprivation of liberty and extortion.

The Crown are placing Vu at the centre of an alleged scheme to abduct Mr Hoang and his wife Ha Thi Pham and leave them to die inside the container on his Richlands property in January 2017 unless they handed over the money.

It is alleged Mr Hoang was kidnapped from his Goodna home at 2.30pm on January 14 by two masked men, assaulted, tied up with tape, had a bag thrown over his head and thrown into the container after being taken to the Freeman Rd property

The same had happened to his wife just a couple of hours earlier.

He told the court, via an interpretor, while in the container one of the men poked their head inside and he recognised it as Vu - known to him as Dat.

Mr Hoang said he knew him as he was a regular visitor to Vu's Vietnamese Darra grocery store, shopping there once a week.

He had never spoken to him before but knew his name as that's what other customers called him.

Mr Hoang pleaded for the couple to be let out, saying he needed to take care of his elderly mother, but it fell on deaf ears and the pair were left in the container.

After he had been inside for about 14 hours, Mr Hoang started to plot their escape with the door kept locked with wire cables.

The court heard he undid two of the cables and then pushed on the door to open up a gap for his wife to squeeze through after climbing on his shoulders.

He persisted with pushing the door, so he too was able to squeeze out and he said he was surrounded by high grass, broken glass and a fence, which the pair climbed.

About 30 minutes after escaping the container and the sun starting to rise, they flagged down a police car on Freeman Rd.

Mr Hoang said his wife's legs were trembling so much out of fear she was struggling to run and the pair were in fear for their lives.

Later at Yamanto Police Station, Mr Hoang identified Vu out of 12 faces as the man who had allegedly kidnapped the married couple of 39 years.

The court heard on Tuesday Ms Pham owed money to a number of people including another Vietnamese woman named My Le, to which she was indebted $1.4 million.

Her debts were a result of a gambling problem and Mr Hoang had given her $170,000 he had required from a bank loan to help with repayments.

He had previously given her $30,000 on a date he could not recall.

It was from Ms Le's house where she had been allegedly kidnapped after turning up to hand over $3000 in cash.

She had been at a Gold Coast casino early into the hours of the morning they were allegedly kidnapped.

Under questioning from defence barrister Dominic Nguyen, Mr Hoang said he was unaware to who his wife owed money.

Mr Nguyen questioned why, after 14 hours without food or water and having worked a ten hour shift, he did not stop at one of the several houses he passed before coming into contact with the police car.

Mr Hoang said he was scared for his life and wanted to put as much space between himself and the address where he had allegedly been held captive.

The trial continues.