$100 bln treasure hunting allowed to resume in central Vietnam

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Authorities in the central province of Binh Thuan have allowed a man to continue exploring a local mountain for treasure believed to be worth some US$100 billion after terminating the project in February.

 

Tran Van Tiep, a 96-year-old citizen from Ho Chi Minh City, was asked to submit his plan to related agencies for estimating the project's legality and feasibility, a leader from the Binh Thuan People's Committee, who wished to remain unnamed, told Thanh Nien.

 

If the plan meets all the requirements, Tiep will be licensed to continue with his treasure hunting, which started in 1994 and was stopped in February this year as proposed by the provincial agencies, the official said.

 

Meanwhile, the treasure hunter's representative told Thanh Nien that they will submit VND500 million ($24,307) to the State Treasury as a deposit for their exploration.

 

According to Tiep, in 1957, he acquired information about the treasure, which was allegedly buried by Tomoyuki Yamashita, a famous general of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, on Tau Mountain in Phuoc The Commune, Tuy Phong District.  

 

He said the treasure, including over 4,000 tons of gold, was the war loot stolen by Japanese forces at pagodas, banks and museums in countries they were then controlling.

 

The man also claimed many materials showed that before surrendering to the Allied forces in September 1945, Yamashita sent a fleet with 84 warships carrying gold to Ca Na Bay, located between Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces.

 

However, 66 of the ships were later destroyed by the Allies. Meanwhile, 18 others escaped and Japanese soldiers brought the gold to the mountain, which is located next to the bay, he said, adding that over the years many Japanese people have come to hunt for the treasure, but all have failed.

 

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Since he was licensed to look for precious metals on Tau Mountain in 1993, Tiep has hired engineers and psychics to help him look for the treasure. He has also escavated thousands of square meters of earth and rocks. So far, all he has found is a sword with a Japanese sheath, a 10,000-yen coin and some metal badges.

 

In February this year the provincial agencies proposed a stop to Tiep's hunting, saying that he hasn't found anything new over the past 18 years and that he also failed to submit the deposit of VND10 billion ($486,144) which would be used to handle environmental consequences caused during the hunting, in case he doesn't find the treasure.

In February this year the provincial agencies proposed a stop to Tiep's hunting, saying that he hasn't found anything new over the past 18 years and that he also failed to submit the deposit of VND10 billion ($486,144) which would be used to handle environmental consequences caused during the hunting, in case he doesn't find the treasure.

 

Still, in meetings with Binh Thuan's agencies, the man insisted that he was close to finding the treasure, and told Thanh Nien that if he can't find it before he dies, his children will continue the hunting.

 

Meanwhile, world treasure hunters believe that the treasure, also known as the Yamashita's gold, was hidden in the Philippines. They have rushed to the country for hunting over the years, but no one has found anything there yet.

 

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