Yamashita's gold is one of the greatest treasure hoards ever known in today's currency it represents over a hundred billion dollars in value according to the myth this incredible fortune was amassed from proceeds of ruthless Japanese looting throughout Asia during World War two for one amateur treasure hunter finding the gold becomes a lifelong obsession but little did he.
Know he has a mighty rival one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century Marcos was unquestionably a thug he was a gangster this is the extraordinary story of Roger Rojas and the legend of Yamashita's gold the legend of Yamashita's gold is one of.
The greatest stories of war loot in history by 1942 the Japanese Imperial Army has successfully invaded all of Southeast Asia as they advanced they mercilessly ransacked country after country they steal on a massive scale reportedly.
Unrivaled in military history Yamashita's gold is well to beyond belief people wouldn't believe how much it is one trillion US dollars worth so it's a mind-blowing amount the mastermind heading this covert operation codenamed the golden lily is said to be prince Chichibu the emperor's brother this guy is brilliant.
Princeton Sabu was a perfect choice to head up the golden Lily because he wasn't just a military man he was an Oxford scholar and he brought an incredible amount of creativity and lateral thinking to how we'll go about this complex process of looting the Golden Lily operatives just completely took everything from all the countries they left it with nothing they.
Invaded is to call their wealth and just left them penniless it wasn't just banks and financial institutions but it also had museums temples art galleries rare books anything that was worth money they knew about it knew where it was how much was worth and they took it the golden lilies looting was so comprehensive they even targeted the underworld the.
Gangster world the black markets and they absolutely drain them of anything that was a value having amassed treasures of all shapes and sizes the golden Lily's mission is far from over they need to get it back home to Japan first they melt the gold in two easy to move ingots but this smelting also serves a shadier purpose when gold is made is stopped and.
You can tell where it came from but it's been rebuilt it either you don't know where it came from they wanted to stamp a little sign on the gold bars that the gold was actually made in Japan then it would look like the gold was Japanese gold of Japanese origin the stolen gold is then brought to the Philippines there it is inventoried and sent on to Japan by ship the Philippines was chosen.
As the golden Lily's transportation hub because it was pretty much in the center of the vas Japanese Empire for the first year of operations the golden Lily's transportation network runs like clockwork but then the tide of the war turns in June 1942 Japanese and US forces meet near the tiny Pacific island of Midway.
over just four days the US forces say five Japanese ships they destroy 270 aircraft and kill 3,500 ven the Japanese have lost control of the Seas now it is too risky for them to ship the gold home they need they turned to their finest fighting general Tomoyuki Yamashita he has an incredible track record nobody has the.
Reputation he does and if anyone can pull it out of the Hat it would be him with the gold now stuck in the Philippines Yamashita is being asked to come up with um miracle the story goes he is told to hide the gold until it is safe to move it he identifies 175 suitable burial sites across the Philippines they will hold the gold until the Japanese are.
Once again victorious and the Philippines proved the ideal place to hide this treasure they put it in very isolated parts throughout the Philippines mostly covered by very mountainous terrain and a thick thick jungle once you've got these tunnels built it would become virtually impossible to see that there had been anything ever buried.
There because of the growth rate of than in the jungle Yamashita orders detailed maps to be made of the exact location of each treasure vault and each map is carefully encoded these maps were done in a old Japanese dialect called kanji a language which is between 1,500 and 2,000 years old and there were no topographical references on them they used the old characters to represent.
Certain landmarks unless you know the complex code these maps of meanings and there are even further layers of security bombs grenades decoy walls that would lead you into another trap the golden Lily left nothing to chance and they had a vast system of booby traps that consisted of poisonous gas explosives complex use of the water table so if you.
Don't know what you're doing you're gonna drowned in your pursuit of reaching the treasures but the mops that we've drawn highlighted with all those traps worth if you didn't have a mop and you went into one of these treasure vaults it's very likely that you wouldn't come out alive and to ensure all the treasure vault.
Locations remain top secret the number of people in the know is ruthlessly kept to a minimum they use prisoner of war or local slave labor to build the actual treasure vaults and the people who are building it don't know why but that's irrelevant they're gonna die anyway they're usually killed shot on the spot .
But for all y'all machetes Evers the gold still isn't safe in October 1944 the Americans land in the Philippines the fighting that follows is the bloodiest of the Pacific War the fighting of the Filipinos at the end of the war was extremely brutal Yamashita would fight to the very last man for the Emperor.
But even a master tactician like Yamashita can't stop the Americans advance the Philippines has Yamashita as a great general would have learned that he knew he couldn't hold the Philippines all he could do was drag out the fight for as long as possible Yamashita needs to buy himself time he still hasn't finished burying the gold.
April 1945 the Japanese are losing the war in the Pacific Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita Spri Ora T now is to hide the looted gold while US naval forces continue to advance Yamashita is forced to retreat back to the mountains around the northern city of Biagio their systematic hiding of their national treasure becomes less systematic and.
More panicked they need to do it immediately because they're about to suffer defeat 174 treasure vaults done and dusted only one is left with time running out Yamashita orders the chief engineers to seal the final treasure vault these engineers knew everything they knew how the maps were made they knew where the burial sites were they knew how they.
Were booby-trapped what they don't know is that Yamashita has one last move to protect the gold the story goes that while the engineers are carrying out his orders Yamashita seals the vault himself the engineers are still inside now they will be it's guardians for eternity three months later world war two is over.
general Yamashita is put on trial for war crimes the Commission Yamashita takes the secrets of the gold to his grave there is only one other person who allegedly knows of the goats whereabouts Prince Qi Chuang and in 1953 he dies of TB anybody who knew anything about this treasure is now dead it seems.
Yamashita's gold is lost forever but in the Philippines after the horrors of war the legend of Yamashita's gold lives on there were lots and lots of rumors that the Japanese have buried treasure all over the Philippines it's almost a national obsession everybody across the country is aware of it and everyone's looking for it among.
Those who grew up with stories about the gold is a young Filipino locksmith Rogelio Rojas better known as Roger is born in 1943 just as Yamashita's gold is being buried Rogers childhood was really difficult the Philippines are extremely impoverished his family is impoverished Roger is one of millions of Filipinos growing up in the shadow of World War two the war had devastated the.
Philippines Manila was absolutely on its knees in a way that no other city in the whole of the Second World War other than Warsaw it was dreadful hundreds of thousands killed families broken are desperate poverty no really kana me going it was in a really bad state there was no surprise that the legend of your master's goal just took Roger bye-bye heart at a very young age.
Someone that poor with a possibility of obtaining wealth beyond your wildest dreams of course you're gonna go for it Roger the locksmith lives in Biagio the northern city near to where Yamashita made his last stand Roger surmises that they must have hid some of the treasure around his town so he looks around his town right from the.
Start because he knows logically that's probably when the best places to start Roger was a very diligent man every spare moment he was out there working seeing what he could find eliminating areas and continuing to move forward in a very logical progressive manner to help him in his quest Rodgers scrimped and saved and bought himself a metal detector.
Yet all Roger has ever managed to find or a few old coins and some Japanese ammunition but that doesn't shake his faith one day he is sure he will come across the treasure he's been dreaming of since he was a boy no matter how many disappointments a treasure hunter has they will always keep going then in 1961 after years of hunting the.
Gold roger has what seems to be a breakthrough he gets the kind of clue he'd been longing for a map of a tunnel complex there are lots of maps and sketches like this in treasure hunting circles at the time Roger has seen plenty of them before but all have been face this one is different this map had come from a Japanese.
Soldier he's convinced that this is the real deal the problem is the map is in the golden lilies fiendishly complex code it's a needle in the haystack and you don't even know where the haystack is because the map has no topographical features but Roger also knows that this Japanese soldier had been in Biagio with a group of engineers as they buried gold during.
The final days of Yamashita's retreat a map allegedly related to one of those treasure vaults with getting closer he could feel it Roger never gives up and the reason is he knows the treasure is there and he knows it year after year if nothing else he's eliminating word isn't yet for all his high hopes Roger just.
Can't crack the maps code after years of searching he is no closer to finding Yamashita's gold but at least the map confirms to Roger his initial instincts are right there is treasure somewhere around Biagio while combing the jungles around Biagio Roger Rojas finally gets the clue he's been searching for a cryptic map of the.
Tunnel complex used to hide gold taken by the Japanese during World War two then Roger meets a man who seemed to offer him his next breakthrough Eusebio Okubo Okubo tells roger he served under the Japanese as an interpreter during their occupation of the Philippines there were a lot of Filipinos who claimed to know where Japanese buried treasure was mainly because an awful lot.
Of Filipinos had perforce worked with the Japanese not necessarily that what we would call collaborators but simply because the Japanese needed cook's drivers interpreters all that sort of thing Okubo confesses he served none other than general Yamashita while working for him Okubo had witnessed Yamashita taking a large quantity of gold to Biagio.
Towards the very end of the war and then Okubo reveals the crucial piece of information roger was after the gold was in wooden boxes stashed in a tunnel not far from Biagio general hospital so this was the final length this allowed him to tie the bow together and have the perfect package now he knows where to go he knows where to dig he was elated because it now pinpointed the.
Area for him to look at but little does Roger know he has a rival the most powerful man in the Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos in 1965 Marcos had been democratically elected but rapidly became a pathologically greedy dictator money was extremely important to Ferdinand Marcos he loved it like nothing else and there is only one person who can match Marcos is greed.
His Shopaholic wife Imelda but emailed his lavish lifestyle wasn't the only reason Marcos needed money the richer you were the more powerfully worse that's simple it's a very simple equation and nothing can make Marcos more powerful than finding Yamashita's gold it's not at all surprising that Marcos was interested in your masters go because he was a father basically and.
The mere thought of the promise of gold and he would have been on to it like a short compared to Roger Marco's has a serious advantage in the hunt for Yamashita's gold power it was incredibly easy for Marcos to use his power to find the goal he has entire armies at his disposal armies ships experts on maps and deciphering all sorts of closed despite all these resources Markos.
Hasn't found anything and so he devises a shrewd strategy he was a brilliant politician but he was also brilliantly corrupt on the surface he seemed to be a rational person going by the law by the books but in person he was quite ruthless Marco's passes a law demanding treasure-hunters apply for a permit detailing where they're going to start digging he comes up with the permit.
System because this way he has all the enthusiastic treasure hunters all across the country working for him because they've now told him where they think the treasure is he's just waiting to see if anyone finds it then he can move in because he has the resources to do that and you know that's very smart meanwhile back in Biagio in 1970 roger.
Marries with a new wife and child on the way he needs Yamashita's gold now more than ever and so roger dutifully applies for one of Marcos's permits roger did everything the right way he thought that if he followed the rules that had been put in place by the government he would be able to search he would be able to find and excavate and recover and it.
Would all be done with the blessings of the government in Rogers town the person who manages that application is none other the Marcoses uncle in May 1970 armed with his permit his map Ando Kubo's information Roger decides to risk everything to find Yamashita's gold he spends all his life savings hiring the team of laborers together they start hacking their way.
Through the thick jungle vegetation near Biagio General Hospital so it was really difficult for Roger to find the tunnel near the hospital because it was 25 years before that that it was blasted shut and every single year and the rainy season these jungles that you know they change your look and feel dramatically then after two weeks of almost non-stop searching Rogers spots the mouth of a.
Cave could this be the entrance to the treasure vault Okubo told him about 100 meters into the tunnel a collapse means Roger can't go any further but for Roger this is a good sign he knows the Japanese had used dynamite to blast their treasure vaults shut and so Roger and his crew began the arduous task of clearing the way the conditions for Roger and the team.
Digging the tunnel would have been a horrific it was hot there were insects there were snakes it was very very hard work digging the tunnel was very very dangerous and Roger knew if this really was a tunnel that the Japanese had built there may be booby traps but Roger is willing to risk his life to get to Yamashita's gold once you get.
That gold fever it is insatiable you just cannot quench that appetite he was becoming obsessed one more Spade one more Rock I'm going to get it this is going to be the treasure of a lifetime and everybody's going to say yes you found it finally after four long months of digging they break through .
Roger Rojas has spent his life savings and every spare moment searching for the long-lost horde of looted Japanese treasure then after weeks of back-breaking work he makes a grim discovery skeletons dressed in rags but these are just any rags they are Japanese military uniforms could these be the remains of the engineers who had hidden Yamashita's.
Gold only to be buried alive by Yamashita himself he thinks he's there and he knows now that he has all the pieces to the puzzle he is literally at the threshold of the gold recovery that he has sought now for 10 years it's there is within his fingertips grasp stretching beyond the skeletons are a vast network of tunnels Roger and his team spend weeks exploring.
Them day after day they find nothing but a full six months after finding the entrance to the tunnel Roger still hasn't found any treasure Roger had spent all the money that he had raised to start the dig to begin with and no one was going to give him any more money.
No money means no crew it seems the hunt is over just before Roger decides to give up once and for all he has one last go with his metal detector then he hears its tell-tale buzz this buzz that Roger got from his metal detector must have been the best sound.
He'd ever had in his life roger is stunned hiding behind the wall is a gold statue of Buddha this was that moment in life that you would look back on and you say yes I have achieved my goal for my entire life this is it this find is the most significant find of anything that anybody had discovered in the Philippines.
The Buddha is in the Burmese style according to the legend the Japanese had looted religious artifacts from temples right across Burma he must have found one of Yamashita's 175 treasure boats and that wasn't all the area around the Buddha was stacked full of wooden boxes finally it was payday the goal that Roger has just discovered is worth a fortune each of those bars is.
Worth a thousand dollars and he estimated there were over a thousand boxes of the gold bars so you're talking an incredible amount of money and more treasure than even he ever dreamed he would find I mean this is surpassed his wildest expectations Roger returns home with the Buddha planning to go back for the gold with.
Trucks and men but the more he looks at this statue the more curious Roger becomes there's something about it that isn't quite right the Buddha is full of diamonds the value had just gone off the chart that night Roger documents his life-changing find news of Rogers miraculous discovery soon spreads to the presidential palace I can just imagine.
Him going crazy when the word had gotten to him Marcus was going to do anything to get that Buddha away from Rojas and it was going to eventually sit in Marcos palace unfortunately for Roger Marcos his primary tactic is brute force on April 5th 1971 it's said a group of mysterious men turn up at Rogers house they said you have three minutes to open the door we're going to shoot you right.
Here they took everything away from you imagine the feeling of violation its entire life he's looking for this he's found it and now it's been taken but if Marcos thinks he can intimidate Roger and his family he's wrong Roger had risked everything to find this gold and it wasn't going to let it go so easily Roger reports the theft to the police by.
That time President Marcos had a considerable stranglehold of the police and the army particularly what Marcos does not yet control the media within days the press picks up Roger story it was a huge scandal you know there's stolen loot its World War two us the Japanese it's Marcus being implicated.
The newspaper was full of articles that were nothing short of Kali Marcos a common thief the hostile press coverage comes at a critical time for Marcus he was widely known to have fixed his second term of office the elections which were ludicrously corrupt I mean he he allegedly won by two million votes was just impossible he was widely lampooned on all sides for corruption.
And he was beginning to feel himself quite insecure Marcos needs to silence this treasure hunter fast there is one obvious solution the Marcos regime was notorious for extrajudicial executions you'd have death squads basically killing people who were seen as being very critical of the regime this time Marcos needs a different approach I think by that time he must.
Have thought that the story had enough public exposure for him not to be able to risk just making my Roger vanish like a lot of his opponents three weeks later Roger finally receives some good news he's told his Buddha is waiting to be collected at the courthouse in Biagio but when he gets there he is in for a shock .
After a decade of searching Roger Rojas has finally found Yamashita's gold only to have it mysteriously and forcefully taken away seemingly by President Ferdinand Marcos weeks later Roger hears that his Buddha is waiting to be collected at the courthouse in Biagio when Roger saw the Buddha he knew immediately this wasn't the Buddha that he had found it was a different color.
Different shaped facial expression the head didn't come off Marcos is expecting Roger to say yes that's the Buddha thank you but he didn't know Rojas Rojas was determined he wasn't going to let that boot up and this was a huge mistake for Marcos because he had misread Rojas personality Roger declares the Buddha is a fake.
Really this marks the beginning of the end for Roger just over two weeks later more mysterious men come for Roger over several days Roger says he was repeatedly burned with cigarettes he was beaten and electrocuted eventually Roger claimed he signed an.
Affidavit stating Marcus had nothing to do with the theft of his Buddha and revealed the location of the thousands of gold ingots roger was a very broken man when he signed that affidavit I mean there he was fighting publicly but now admitting that no there was no wrongdoing he must have been completely demoralized Marcos has Roger imprisoned and wastes no time.
Helping himself to the rest of Rogers find but eventually Marcus's megalomania will prove his undoing in 1986 a popular revolution forces Marcos and Imelda to flee the country the Filipino people's storm Marcos's presidential palace and what they find inside is unbelievable they were amazed at what they found they found treasures.
Of statues and art and thousands of pairs of shoes this is just what they left behind Marcos was by far and away the wealthiest man alive one of the questions for the Filipino people was where had the Marcoses enormous wealth come from foremost there was an obvious answer mozzies wealth primarily came from theft.
Embezzlement and corruption and you can look back I think on their joint reign as simply being a plot of self enrichment and the administration of the Philippines was merely a secondary item they were basically using the public treasury as their piggy back years later while on trial for fraud and embezzlement Imelda Marcos defense declares their fortune was not looted.
From the Philippine Treasury but actually came from finding Yamashita's gold but for Roger Rojas none of this matters his life is in ruins Roger never fully recovered from his torture and the damage is so great that he can't see out of his right eye for the rest of his life after this he's lost his money he's lost his self-respect he's lost his wife roger.
Has lost everything despite all this Roger still has a bit of the spirit that had helped him find the gold it's a treasure hunters mentality they must get to the end of the story they must get the treasure anyway Roger had lost so much he had nothing to lose with Marcos in exile in Hawaii Roger files a lawsuit against him.
even when Markos dies one year later in September 1989 the case continues you could say that the Marcos's actually got away with it he went on lived his exile in Hawaii and died of natural causes you could well say that they did rather well out of his it takes seven more years before Roger isn't last vindicated in 1996 the jury.
Concludes Marcos had stolen Rogers find forty-three billion dollars in damages is awarded when the Court finds in Rogers favor it's a significant moment in legal history 43 billion is awarded to Roger which is the biggest civil lawsuit award in history sadly Roger never sees justice done on the eve of his day in court he dies.
He is just 49 years old then in 1998 the huge compensation award is overturned while no court has challenged the verdict that Marcos stole Rogers treasure how to determine its value is still being fought out by the lawyers it's hard not to look back at Roger and feel empathy for this man his.
Determination was boundless and I think if nothing else Roger was a hero I think that's how he's gonna be remembered he was willing to be David against Goliath he was willing to put his life on the line and therefore my hat off to him Rogers tragic story begs the question once what he found a one-off or as the legend states are there another 174 treasure vaults still waiting to be.
Discovered since the war treasure hunters from across the world have scoured the Philippines each in search of Yamashita's gold yet none of them has found anything nonetheless people are still willing to risk their lives looking searching for Amash this goal is very dangerous activity even to this day I think it was.
In 2002 men were buried alive looking for treasure what drives them is their certainty that Yamashita's gold is still out there you