Fingerprint links accused container kidnapper to victim

THE man accused of kidnapping a married couple and shutting them inside a shipping container overnight on his property to extort them for $1 million said he was working at his grocery store and restaurant at the time of the alleged offences.


The Ipswich District Show was shown a notice of alibi of Van Dat Vu, which stated he was working at his Bac Thien Market and adjoining restaurant in Darra on January 14 2017.

He is on trial for eight charges including kidnapping, extortion, deprivation of liberty and the unlawful use of his alleged victims' cars.

The Crown are saying Vu is one of two masked men who allegedly tied up and abducted Ha Thi Pham and husband Tien Van Hoang from separate addresses in Inala and Goodna respectively, before taking them to his Richlands property and locking them inside the container.

The court heard Ms Pham owed $1.4 million to another Vietnamese woman, My Le, and thousands more to other debtors and she was told her and her husband would be left inside the container unless they paid up.

They were able to escape and flagged down a police car on Freeman Rd in the early hours of the next day.

In the second week of the trial Detective Acting Sergeant Travis Eric of the Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch told the court he interviewed Mr Hoang on January 17 2017, who picked out Vu from 12 faces on a photoboard and named him as the person who kidnapped him.

Mr Hoang told the court last week he recognised Vu as he poked his head inside the container briefly during the alleged ordeal, whom he knew as a regular visitor to his shop.

Sergeant Benjamin Cox, now based at Stanthorpe, was a part of the Ipswich CIB during January 2017 and lead investigator on the case.

He said he attended the couple's home on Alford Ct, Goodna on January 15 2017 where Mr Hoang said he was taken.

Sgt Cox said all the doors and windows were locked when he arrived and he needed a locksmith to gain entry via the garage.

On a small table outside the front door to the property was a knife positioned next to a statue.

He said there were no signs of forced entry and inside the house found a black cable tie in a bedroom, drawers pulled out in the lounge room and black gloves sitting on the kitchen sink.

On the outside of the house there were CCTV cameras above the entrance to the house but upon further investigation, Sgt Cox said the cameras turned out to be fake.

Police were unable to gather any CCTV footage from the time of the alleged incident or gather any useful information from homes along Alford Ct.

It is alleged both Ms Pham and Mr Hoang were taken to the shipping container in their own cars, both red Toyota Carollas, which were then found abandoned in Bandara St, Richlands.

Sergeant Mark Linwood of the Fingerprint Bureau said a fingerprint from Vu's left ring finger matched that of a print left on a seatbelt buckle in one of the cars.

The fingerprints of Mr Hoang and Ms Pham were found on the inside of the door of the shipping container on Vu's property.

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