DEATH ROW: From firing squad to freedom: Australian kickboxer, 28, sentenced to death in Thailand for murdering a Hells Angels bikie boss was released from prison after three years.
A man convicted of killing a Hells Angels bikie is set to be released from a Thai prison, despite being sentenced to death.
Sydney kickboxer Antonio Bagnato, 28, was convicted of murdering Hells Angels boss Wayne Schneider in 2015 and was sentenced to death in a Thai court in February 2017.
Schneider was kidnapped by a group of men hired by Bagnato and bludgeoned to death near the seedy town of Pattaya, south of Bangkok, on November 30, 2015.
A prison official told the ABC Bagnato would be released from Bangkwang Prison on Friday.
‘Yes, there is (a) court order to release him,’ said the staff member, who did not provide a name.
Thai police planned to re-arrest Bagnato on separate charges, according to the prison official.
‘He has a pending charge and will not walk out — police will come to take him from prison to police station,’ he said.
Schneider’s naked body, covered in bruises and lacerations, was found in buried by in a shallow grave the side of a road the day after he was beaten to death.
The brutal death of the boss has been linked to a wider network of criminal activity in Thailand.
Perth man Luke Cook, 34, was convicted of helping Bagnato, 28, escape to Cambodia in 2015.
Last month Cook and his wife Kanyarat Wechapitak, 40, were sentenced to death in Thailand.
The couple were arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in December 2017 and charged with attempting to smuggle half a tonne of crystal methamphetamine into Thailand and on to Australia in 2015.
Cook is accused of taking a yacht into international waters off the Thailand coast to collect drugs from a Chinese trawler.
After spotting a patrol boat, he reportedly threw a large amount of the drug overboard, according to local media.
Later, police reportedly found 50 kilograms of the drug – in four yellow sacks marked with red Chinese characters – washed ashore in Rayong in June 2015.
Thai authorities allege Cook is a member of notorious Hells Angels bikie gang and was paid $US10 million by Schneider to receive and store the drugs before smuggling them to Australia.