Police in Thailand are investigating the murder of a wealthy Canadian property developer who was gunned down on his birthday outside his luxury condominium.
Francis Alex Degioanni, 34, originally from Quebec was shot seven times by gunmen who waited for him to drive out of his Panorama condo on Patong Beach, on the island of Phuket -one of Thailand’s top tourist destinations.
Minutes earlier Degioanni, had received a telephone call and had told his 22-yr-old Thai wife that he had to do some urgent business, but would be back to celebrate his birthday.
As he drove out of his condo in his Toyota Regal witnesses said he was approached by the gunmen, one wearing a long sleeved red shirt and trousers, the other wearing jeans, jacket and peaked cap. Both had short military style hair-cuts.
The shooting began as he stopped. Degioanni was shot by the men firing .38 calibre pistols and had wounds in his head, neck, chest and one arm. Both men then fled on a motorycle in the direction of Jungceylon department store.
His Thai wife Tawadee Pencharoenwattana said: ‘My husband left in a hurry saying he had some business to attend to, after taking the telephone call. When I heard the shots I rushed down.
‘He was still alive and I dragged him across to the passenger seat and drove him to the hospital but he died before I reached it. We have only been living here six months.’
Police who at the crime scene at 8.30 pm Thursday say they believe the shooting was business related.
Police Superintendent Krissak Songmoonmak said: ‘ The Canadian was very wealthy and had been involved in property development in Phuket for over five years.
‘We know he was in dispute with his Thai business partner and had claimed he had been cheated out of 20 million baht ( Can $704,584). That matter is already in the courts.’
Police did not say where in Canada Mr. Degioanni was from.
Last year Canadian Leo Del Pinto, aged 24, from Calgary was gunned down by a Thai policeman in the northern Thai village of Pai.
The trial of the policeman was late last year abandoned and the Department of Special Investigations has been asked to prepare a new case.
Also murdered in Thailand last year was Dale Henry, originally from BC, but who spent much of his life as a paramedic and firefighter in Calgary.
Police have arrested his Thai wife, her lover, and a hit man in connection with the shooting at his home in Thailand’s Ranong Province, in a case which is still going through Thailand’s slow justice system.
N.B.Corrections/Updates: Father of Degioanni says his son was educated in the U.S. and has been in Thailand nine years.
Later reports from Canada show that DeGioanni (this is now the accepted form) had earlier told his family that he thought he had been poisoned by his business partner, a woman, and might need police protection. He declined to return to Canada because he has a major project to finish. He was previously married in Thailand and has a three year old daughter. The woman who shared his condo was his current Thai girlfriend. DeGioanni was a former male model based out of Bangkok.