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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Yamashita Treasure

In a previous article, I mentioned the yamashita treasure in the Philipines.I decided to give a little history.From Wikipedia:

Yamashita's gold

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Yamashita's gold is the name given to loot worth billions of dollars stolen from East and Southeast Asia by Japanese forces during World War II and hidden in the Philippines,

The treasure trove takes its name from General Yamashita Tomoyuki, who assumed command of Japanese forces in the Philippines in 1944. The "gold"includes many different kinds of valuables looted from banks,depositories, mosques, temples, churches, shops, museums and privatehomes. It was intended that loot from South East Asia would finance Japan's war effort. Most of the loot was first shipped to the port of Singapore, where it was then relayed to the Philippines. From the Philippines, it was intended that the treasure would be shipped to the Japanese home islands.

As the Pacific War progressed, Alliedsubmarines and aircraft took a heavy toll on Japan's shipping. Someships carrying loot to Japan were sunk. The Japanese military began tohide the loot in caves and underground complexes throughout thePhilippines, hoping to recover it after the war was over. Many of thosewho knew the locations of the loot were either executed or incarceratedfor war crimes, including Yamashita. Thus, the whereabouts of the treasure locations were lost. Many years later, Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcoslocated some of the treasure and obtained part of his personal fortunefrom it. His recoveries are known as the "Marcos gold". In 1995,Philippine government agents’ recovered two tones of platinum with avalue of US$480 million, part of the hoard and aside from these finds,others finds are not openly documented sufficiently.

Roger Roxas, a treasure hunter from Baguio City found numerous goldbars along with a Golden Buddha with a detachable head. The inside ofthe Buddha body was filled with gems and other artefacts of value.Roxas was a locksmith and for three years searched for a hiddenunderground trove, which he eventually found. Unfortunately news of thefind reached President Marcos who was aware of the existence ofYamashita's treasure and his military staff forcibly took the recoveredtreasure, away from Roxas.

When the gold was buried, it was done in anticipation that theAmericans may defeat the Japanese and the underground vaults, tunnel,and entrances were booby trapped with gas, explosives and with water.The water traps were created by digging 300 - 350 feet underground inthe dry months, at which time the water table was at its lowest.

A 30 year research and study by Robert Szatmary, the leadingauthority and historian on Yamashita Treasure Gold bullion and recoveryeliminates doubt about the reality of the Yamashita treasure.

The legal case of ROGER ROXAS and THE GOLDEN BUDDHA CORPORATION, v.FERDINAND E. MARCOS and IMELDA MARCOS, heard in Hawaii is a legal claimfor payment of Yamashita Treasure Gold, stolen by Ferdinand Marcos fromRoger Roxas, a locksmith from Baguio City, who was a treasure hunterthat found that trove of Yamashita Gold in underground tunnels in theMountain Provinces of Luzon. The trove included gold bars, a GoldenBuddha statue with a detachable head filled with precious stones, andother precious objects (pictures are known to exist showing Roxas withthe original Buddha). Prolonged legal actions of the highest ordercaused various Hawaiian court rulings proving that the Yamashitatreasure Gold recovered by Roxas, entitled him to a major share of theproceeds. The litigation exposed the vulnerability of treasure hunterswho find Yamashita’s Gold. The treasure hunter of past was almostpowerless in opposing the Philippines Government should it ordersurrender of discovered Yamashita Gold and treasure, to it.

Even today, a lot of Filipinos still believe in the veracity of theexistence of Yamashita's treasure. Old people relate stories about theJapanese Imperial Army systematically killing those (includingrelations and friends) who tunnelled to bury the treasure and keep itslocations secret.

The Philippine Government have laws are in place clarifying theprofit sharing arrangements, relating to recovered Yamashita Treasure.The laws also set out the treasure hunters obligations, the method ofsharing the proceeds showing that the "urban legend" proponents, areill informed.

Profit Sharing Laws of the Republic of the Philippines

Department of Environment and Natural Resources - ADMINISTRATIVEORDER No. 2004 – 33, Amendments to Department of Environment andNatural Resources Administrative Order No. 2002-04, Otherwise Known asthe “Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance of Permits forTreasure Hunting, Shipwreck/Sunken Vessel Recovery and Disposition ofRecovered Treasures/Valuable Cargoes, Including Hoarded HiddenTreasures”. Section 14 (Sharing) offers the following benefits fortreasure recovery :

After an audited report of expenses has been evaluated and approvedby the Oversight Committee, the sharing of the net proceeds shall be asfollows:

a).For Treasure Hunting within Public Lands – Seventy-five percent(75%) to the Government and twenty-five (25%) to the Permit Holder;

b).For Treasure Hunting in Private Lands – Thirty Percent (30%) tothe Government and Seventy Percent (70%) to be shared by the PermitHolder and the landowner; and

c).For Shipwreck/Sunken Vessel Recovery – Fifty percent (50%) to the Government and Fifty percent (50%) to the Permit Holder.”

Conclusion: It follows that an actual legal case exists in whichpayments were ordered, for the benefit of treasure hunters and that thepayment orders were based on facts before the court, proving theexistence and recovery of stolen treasure gold and;

The Philippine Government has enacted laws protecting its interestin recovered Yamashita treasure gold and laws are not created tosupport fictional possibilities, but genuine circumstances.

The Roxas case, proves that Marcos did recover a portion of theYamashita Gold, however there were 172 different sites throughout thePhilippines where the Japanese Army hid their stolen treasures. Many ofthese locations were existing wartime bunkers and therefore, littleengineering effort was required to create secret underground goldhiding places. Other locations were constructed by the Japanesesoldiers and Philippines nationals, many of whom were entombed toensure secrecy.


Blogger yehuda said...

simply amazing story man :)

12:17 PM  

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