A look at centenarian's decade-long hunt for Japanese gold

By Que Ha, Thanh Nien News

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Le Van Hien (L), a former Party official in Binh Thuan Province, supports Tran Van Tiep in his search for 4,000 tons of gold he believes were buried deep into Tau Mountain by Japanese invaders over 70 years ago. This picture was taken in 1993 when Tiep began his search. Photos: Que Ha
A 10,000 yen note that Tiep believes was dropped behind by Japanese forces under Tomoyuki Yamashita, a famous general of the Japanese Imperial Army during the World War II. 
Tiep and a Hanoi-based scientist survey Tau Mountain.
A Japanese sword that Tiep says could prove the presence of Japanese forces at the mountain. Tiep claims that before surrendering to the Allied forces in September 1945, Yamashita sent a fleet of 84 warships loaded with the gold to Ca Na Bay, between Binh Thuan and neighboring Ninh Thuan Province.
He brings in a power generator to serve the search in 2009.
An excavator at work at the mountain in 2010.
He often travels from Ho Chi Minh City to Binh Thuan on a Jeep with his son Tran Phuong Hong.
Tiep (R) and his son Tran Phuong Hong at the gold searching site in 2009.
Tiep talks with a Thanh Nien reporter in Binh Thuan in 2014.
He shows all documents about the treasure at his house on Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street in Ho Chi Minh City's Go Vap District.
Tiep (C), his son Hong (R) and a Thanh Nien reporter at Tau Mountain in 2010.
Hong also films the search.
A shack where workers hired by Tiep for the search stay.
Tiep said he has spent a lot of money for the treasure hunt. He was licensed to explore the mountain in 1993 and the license was renewed four times before the province authorities finally asked him to end his search a few days ago.
Born in 1915 in Hai Phong City, Tiep used to fight with revolutionary forces against the French in Vietnam. 

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