Treasure hunters claim they have discovered a huge horde of booby-trapped Japanese gold that was hidden in the Philippines during World War II. A video has emerged that purports to show the uncovering of the legendary Yamashita Treasure — gold bars and gemstones said to be worth tens of billions of dollars.
Long-standing rumours say the looted treasure was hidden in more than 145 underground tunnels and caves somewhere in the Philippines before Japan surrendered in 1945.
The story has it that an incredible fortune of gold and precious stones were under the control of General Tomoyuki YamashitaTomoyuki Yamashita, known as “The Tiger of Malaya”, who led the occupying forces.
The video shows a group of men in a water-logged cave — said to be somewhere in the Philippines — where they are seen carefully cutting electrical wires on the cave floor. According to the uploader of the video, these wires were attached to explosive booby traps. The treasure hunters then brush away a layer of mud to reveal glittering gold bars.
However, despite this latest video evidence, anthropologist Piers Kelly dismissed the stories of looted valuables, saying such tales of buried treasure are a recurring feature of Filipino folklore.
“Tales of buried gold, sliver and generic treasure are recounted throughout the Philippines,” he said.
“By tracing variations of this story, we were able to show that their popularity coincides with periods of war and crisis.
“The promise of future wealth may have served to boost local morale.”
Others say that the treasure has already been found, and was appropriated by the Marcos family, something that Imelda apparently admitted in 1992.
Previously, in 1988, treasure hunter Rogelio Roxas filed a lawsuit in Hawaii against the family alleging human rights abuses and theft.
Roxas claimed to have uncovered the treasure, including a priceless golden Buddha, in caves near Baguio in 1971. He alleged that he was tortured before the treasure was stolen by the Marcos family.
Even though Roxas conveniently died hours before he could give evidence, his deposition testimony led to what was then the largest award in history, $22 billion, increasing to $40.5 billion with interest.
However, the Supreme Court of Hawaii reversed the award, saying it was too speculative. A new hearing was ordered relating to the value of the golden Buddha and 17 bars of gold only.
After several more years of legal proceedings, Roxas’ “Golden Buddha Corporation” obtained a final judgement against Imelda Marcos of $13,275,848.37. Roxas’ estate received a $6 million judgement on the claim for human rights abuse.