BANGKOK – An Australian kick-boxer convicted of the murder of a Hell’s Angels gang member in Pattaya, Thailand is expected to be allegedly released from jail, despite an ongoing appeal.
Antonio Bagnato was convicted of the 2015 murder of Hell’s Angels boss Wayne Schneider and sentenced in February last year to the death penalty.
The former kick-boxer was the bodyguard of Mr Schneider, who was kidnapped and bludgeoned to death near the resort town of Pattaya.
A staff member at Bangkwang Prison, where Bagnato is being held, told the ABC News that he would be allegedly released on Friday. “Yes, there is [a] court order to release him,” said the official, who did not give his name.
The prison official said Thai police planned to re-arrest Bagnato immediately on separate charges.
‘He has a pending charge and will not walk out — police will come to take him from prison to the police station,’ he said.
The brutal murder of the Hell’s Angel boss is believed to be linked to a wider criminal network smuggling methamphetamine’s from Thailand to Australia.
In 2015, Australian Luke Cook was convicted of helping Bagnato flee to Cambodia after Wayne Schneider’s murder.
Last month Cook and his Thai partner Kanyarat Wechapitak were sentenced to the death penalty for smuggling 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice.
The Bangkok Post quoted Police Lieutenant General Sommai Kongwisaisuk as saying the couple bought the drugs from a Chinese supplier in international waters and stored it aboard a boat.
Police said that while the boat was heading back to shore in the Sattahip district of Chon Buri province, they encountered a patrol boat and dropped the drugs into the sea before escaping.
More than 50 kilograms of ice later washed ashore at a beach in Rayong.
American Tyler Gerard (above) was also convicted of being involved in the smuggling plot and was last month sentenced to death.
Gerard previously stood trial alongside Bagnato and received a three-year sentence for deprivation of liberty and helping to dispose of Wayne Schneider’s body.
Thai police used the GPS tracker on a rented vehicle used in the crime to identify the grave-site.
By Liam Cochrane and Supattra Vimonsuknopparat – ABC News Australia