A Nakhon Si Thammarat man who police allege was a powerful underworld figure was shot dead in Thung Yai district late on Tuesday night.
Police said the body of Sopee Khamkling, 47, was found in a rubber plantation behind Phukhao Din Temple in Tambon Kurae at 12.10am.
He had been shot twice above his left ear and his body was found slumped on top of his motorcycle. A doctor determined he had died at least an hour prior to discovery of the body.
Police said Sopee had recently been released from jail after serving time on drugs charges.
They believe Sophee, who was known to be an influential person in the tambon, drove his motorcycle to the spot to hold talks with someone before he was shot dead.
Investigators are considering possible motives for the killing, including a conflict over a deal or an extra-marital affair.