Talks about a supposedly sunken treasure off Solomon Islands coast in the South Pacific have sparked up frenzied searching by local and and foreign adventurers. The treasure is said to be wartime gold amassed by Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita.
The gold hunting frenzy started after a local found two ingots in a sunken warship along the area earlier this year. The gold is believed to be part of a larger haul which could be worth around 830 million pounds – plunders of the Japanese from the southeast Asia during WWII, most of which were never found.
A former MP stationed on the islands, Alfredo Sasako, claimed he had contact with the man who found the two gold bars. According to him, his (the man’s) father who used to work as a cook in a Japanese warship, divulged the location of the ship in his deathbed in March.
“Two gold bars have been recovered but the rest is still buried,” Sasako stated.
Because of this, hunters have flocked the area where the ingots were said to be found to search for the bigger booty. There are even armed gangs reportedly scouring the area for it. Some have used high-tech devices like remote-controlled submarines, underwater cameras and GPS trackers just to find the gold while others contended with using simple snorkeling equipment.
Additionally, rumors saying Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen has joined in the search have surfaced after his yacht, the Octopus, was seen docked near the islands last June. However, his office denied the claims and stated that the yacht’s presence in the area was due to it being rented for a marine research.
It had long been claimed that Japanese General Yamashita acquired a large amount of fortune in various forms of gold when he invaded the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore in WWII.
His loot is said to include a number of solid gold Buddhas he and his troops took from temples, palaces and private collections. The loot’s purpose was to fund the rebuilding of Japan after the war.
Yamashita was said to have taken these fortunes to the Philippines, had them stored in secret vaults and caves before these were transported across the Pacific at the time of the Japanese’s final offense against the Allies.
Yamashita may have surrendered when WWII ended – September 2, 1945 – and he may have been killed for the war crimes he committed throughout the duration of the war but his name continues to live on due , in part, to the legend about his gold – Yamashita Treasure.