By The Nation,
This week, island authorities announced that they would prosecute the builders of the tunnel because they were unable to find any supporting documentation or permission for the construction.
The Koh Samui land office could, however, confirm that the land either side of the tunnel was properly titled and owned by the same entity – the Ban Thai Beach Company based in the British Virgin Islands.
The tunnel connects the beach at Ban Tai with a private road and an undeveloped piece of forestland 200 metres from the island’s main ring road in the Mae Nam district. It was earlier reported that the tunnel was part of an incomplete hotel development.
The Thaiger has discovered that the tunnel was probably built around 2005 by the land owner, who was seeking access to the land behind the hill because there was no direct access from the existing roads. The tunnel was aimed at helping reach the second property.
A source revealed that it was proposed to be a grand entrance with a waterfall gate in front of the tunnel that would open up to allow access through the tunnel and into the property behind.
It is not understood at this stage why the owner did not progress beyond construction of the 3.5 x 3.5-metre tunnel.
The source said many professionals worked on the project at the time and it was inconceivable that the tunnel could have proceeded without proper permits and legal documentation. The source suggested that it was far more likely to be a problem with the Koh Samui land office documentation systems rather than the professional design and legal team working on the development at the time.