PHUKET: The alleged mastermind in the kidnap-murder of an Australian hoodlum from a villa in Pattaya has been arrested in Cambodia and may have already been escorted back to Thailand, according to media reports.
Sydney man Antonio Bagnato, 26, was detained in Phnom Penh after handing himself in. He may have since been taken to Bangkok.
Mr Bagnato is wanted for questioning over the death of Wayne Schneider, 38, a former Hell's Angel with alleged drug trafficking links, whose naked body was found in a shallow grave near the Thai tourist city of Pattaya on Monday.
The gang who kidnapped the heavily tattooed Shneider then broke his neck did not realise that a GPS in the hired pickup was later able to tell police their route and take them to the secret burial ground.
Bagnato, says an exclusive report by Fairfax Media today, is also wanted to for questioning over the shooting of Brad Dillon in Sydney last year.
Dillon, 25, was shot five times at close range outside Market Place in Leichhardt in August, 2014.
While efforts are likely to be made to have Bagnato returned to Australia to face charges there, Thai police are likely to not return him to Australia until he has been punished appropriately if convicted of the murder of Schneider.
Bagnato's lawyer Theo Tsambas said he was aware Bagnato handed himself over to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Cambodia, perhaps preferring to serve a sentence in Australia rather than in Thailand.
"I can also confirm that the Australian embassy in Cambodia know about him but have not seen him or don't know where he is," the lawyer told Fairfax Media on Friday.
"I am told that he was taken back by the AFP to Bangkok. It is my understanding having spoken to family members that he is currently at a police station in Bangkok."
He also confirmed he was aware Bagnato was an alleged "co-accused in the matters of Diego Carbone and the shooting at Leichhardt".
American Tyler Gerard, 21, has confessed to his involvement in the murder in a major breakthrough into investigations into alleged Australian criminal networks in Thailand, according to Thai media reports.
Police have also detained Bagnato's Thai wife, Siraphat Saimart, 25, over the rental of aToyota pickup used in the abduction.
She told police she did not know the vehicle would be used in the kidnapping but that Bagnato had instructed her to delete all the text messages in her mobile telephone that related to the renting the vehicle.
Ms Saimart is being held at a Thai military base.
Fairfax Media has reported a source in Melbourne as saying Schneider was cashed up at the time of the abduction after recently returning to Thailand with the proceeds of a large drug trafficking operation in Europe.
The source said Schneider's new-found wealth was well known among Australian bikie gangs.
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 told the Bangkok Post he slept through the entire ordeal and only learnt Schneider was missing from police.
Police in Pattaya and Phuket, both known haunts for Australian biker gang members, have intensified their hunt for the remaining members of the group that allegedly killed Schneider.