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Oz suspect arrested

Left: Wayne Rodney Schneider, whose body was found in Thailand Wednesday. Right: Australian Antonio Bagnato, arrested in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Left: Wayne Rodney Schneider, 37, whose body was found in Thailand Wednesday. Right: Australian Antonio Bagnato, 26, arrested in Phnom Penh yesterday. NSW police / Pattaya police

Oz suspect arrested

Cambodian police on Thursday detained a 26-year-old Australian man wanted in connection to the kidnapping and murder of a former Hells Angels biker in Thailand.

Thong Piseth, military police chief in Phnom Penh’s Daun Pehn district, said police arrested Antonio Bagnato in the capital. He said the suspect was wanted for murder abroad, but refused to elaborate.

Bagnato is accused of masterminding the kidnapping of Wayne Rodney Schneider, a former member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Sydney, from his villa in Pattaya on Monday at about 5am.

Seized and beaten by five masked men, Schneider, 38, was found naked in a shallow grave in Thailand’s Sattahip district two days later. He had suffered head injuries and a broken neck, Thai police said.

A Sydney Morning Herald report yesterday, quoting Bagnato’s lawyer, suggested Bagnato turned himself in and is also sought by Australian police over a fatal shooting last year in Sydney. Bagnato may have been transferred to Bangkok, the report stated.

Phsar Kandal commune police chief Keo Sokha said the suspect was detained in his commune Thursday afternoon.

Rath Sreang, Phnom Penh military police commander, said the case was referred to the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration. “I only know he was arrested, I am yet to receive an official report,” said immigration spokesman Keo Vanthan.

Thai police have arrested two people including a 21-year-old American, identified as Tyler Gerard, caught trying to cross into Cambodia, and a Thai woman, reportedly Bagnato’s wife.

Gerard “confessed” to involvement in the crime, according to Thai police, who are hunting three more suspects.

Identified by Thai police as the prime suspect, Bagnato, reportedly Schneider’s business partner, was named in a warrant issued by Pattaya Provincial Court on Tuesday.

A convicted drug trafficker, Schneider, who lived at the villa for a month, has an extensive criminal history and was once on New South Wales “most wanted” list, Australian media reported.

Additional reporting by Bangkok Post.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled victim Wayne Rodney Schneider's family name as Scheinder.


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