A CANADIAN property investor was shot dead on Thursday evening in Patong, police have told Phuketwan.
He was named as Francis Alex Degioanni, aged 34. He was an island resident, a ''rich'' businessman, and a former Bangkok model, married to a Thai national.
Phuket's Governor, Dr Preecha Ruangjan, on Friday called for police to solve the case as fast as possible.
On Saturday, Phuketwan was told that senior Royal Thai Police from Bangkok had taken charge of the case.
Coincidentally, senior police were on the island for the weekend's important gathering of Asean fiance ministers.
Because the case involves an expat and what appears to be a professional killer, senior police decided to upgrade the investigation and take it out of the hands of local police.
Earlier, Patong's Kathu police superintendent Grissak Songmoonark said he was called to the scene of the shooting about 6.45pm on Thursday.
At 162/11 Soi Ton Village, off Sirirat Road, he found a black Toyota pickup with bullet holes in the driver's seat.
Police told Phuketwan on Saturday that the victim had been hit by eight shots.
When police arrived, Mr Degioanni was in the care of Kusoldham Foundation paramedics. It is believed he died at the scene or on the way to hospital.
Police found a gun in the pickup. Mr Degioanni carried a gun, police said.
The man's wife, Nanthawadee Phenjaroenwattana, told police that she was in the pickup at the time of the shooting.
Two men approached on a motorcycle as the couple reached their home, and one man riding pillion started shooting, she said.
Her husband was a property developer in Canada who came to Thailand to live two years ago.
He travelled quite often between Canada and Thailand on business.
Khun Nanthawadee said her husband eventually opened a property business in Bangkok, Mafar Co Ltd, with a branch on Phuket.
He bought a townhouse on Phuket and used the townhouse as an office.
He also bought three rai in the Patong hills and was building a seven-storey development, in three phases, on the property.
Building began in the middle of 2008 and phase II was about to start, Khun Nanthawadee said.
Police believe the motive could concern Mr Degioanni's business and valued his estate at about 100 million baht.