POLICE arrested American Tyler Joseph Fulton Sheen Gerard at a checkpoint, trying to enter Cambodia, on Wednesday. Antonio Bagnato, 26, is said to have fled Thailand but his Thai wife, who rented the pickup, is in custody.
PHUKET: Police on the holiday island of Phuket are likely to be on the lookout for a gang that kidnapped and killed an Australian hoodlum and former Hell's Angels motorcycle club rider.
Officers in Chonburi traced the GPS from a hired pickup and dug up the naked body of 38-year-old Wayne Schneider in wasteland where his killers expected their victim would go undetected.
The hunt for his murderers is now much hotter than the gang of killers thought it would be, with police exhuming the body in darkness early today.
Many Australian ''bikies'' are known to have connections in Phuket because, as well as attracting plenty of good characters who simply enjoy riding, the holiday island's annual Phuket Bike Week also draws members of suspicious gangs from all over the globe.
At least one British member of an Australian gang was detected on Phuket earlier this year. Under new laws in Australia, he was denied reentry to the country where he had lived for years and had a wife and family. Phuketwan traced him to an apartment in Chalong but he declined to talk to the media.
In Pattaya, the other seaside destination in Thailand favored by bikies, the search for the abducted Australian turned into a murder investigation today after his remains were found buried a short drive from the Thai villa where he was abducted
His heavily tattooed body was found in a two-metre-deep grave in roadside bushes near a Chinese temple in the Sattahip district of Chonburi province, Thai police said.
The hunt for the five-man gang suspected of abducting and killing Schneider is now underway with only one suspected member of the gang named so far.
An arrest warrant for Antonio Bagnato, 26, has been issued and it was discovered on Wednesday that he was a partner with Schneider in a fitness business.
Schneider was beaten unconscious at his rented villa in Pattaya and driven away in the back of a Toyota Vigo pick-up truck about 5am on Monday - without the gang knowing the hired vehicle was fitted with a GPS..
Security guards told police they heard a cry for help and saw five men with scarves over their faces beating Schneider. Blood and bullet casings were found at the villa when police arrived, local media reported.
Police traced the route taken by the hired vehicle from GPS records and, when the record showed the vehicle had stopped in wasteland for two hours, officers knew where to dig.
Fairfax Media revealed former Victorian Comanchero president, Amad ''Jay'' Malkoun, who was once considered the state's most powerful bikie boss, was interviewed by Thai authorities as a witness to the abduction.
Malkoun was quoted as saying he slept through the entire ordeal and only learnt Schneider was missing from the police.
Attempts by Fairfax Media to contact Malkoun were unsuccessful.
All the suspects were believed to still be in hiding in Thailand, said Major General Amporn Buarabporn, chief of Chonburi police. He vowed the culprits would be caught quickly.