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Taiwan resident’s hope of striking gold dashed

Man’s hunt for gold allegedly hidden by Japanese troops fails due to Indigenous protest

(Pixabay image)

(Pixabay image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chiayi man’s hope of discovering gold in eastern Taiwan has been shattered following fierce opposition from a local Indigenous community.

The resident surnamed An (安), applied to conduct excavations at a coastal location in Taitung’s Zhiben where he claimed there is a hidden trove of gold. The belief is based on an account of his late father, who served as a police officer during Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) and who said the Japanese left behind two tons of gold around 15 meters deep underground, according to Liberty Times.

The three digging attempts between March and May failed to retrieve any treasure due to protests and disruptions by the Katratripulr tribe of the Puyuma people. The Indigenous residents argued the gold prospecting violated the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law (原住民族基本法).

In a news conference on Friday (May 13), representatives of the community demanded the county government never green-light future applications by An, who has suggested he would do so. The county government promised no more permits will be issued for excavation in the region, per CNA.

The incident has revived rumors about the significant amount of treasure the Japanese stashed away in multiple locations in Taiwan — allegedly worth up to NT$900 billion (US$30.2 billion), including gold, jewelry, and antiques. At least eight places have been put on the treasure hunt map, including a former fort in Keelung, a former army association in Taipei, and what used to be a sugar plant in Pingtung, per Storm Media.

Updated : 2022-05-25 11:46 GMT+08:00