Last update 2/24/2012 8:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

97-year-old man searching for 4,000 tons of gold (part 3)
VietNamNet Bridge - Last October, Mr. Tran Van Tiep, 97, paid VND500 million ($25,000) as deposit for exploring a “gold warehouse” in Tau Mount in Tuy Phong district, Binh Thuan province. Below is the sensational story about the old man who has kept searching for “4,000 tons of gold” for dozens of years.

97-year-old man searching for 4,000 tons of gold (part 1)
97-year-old man searching for 4,000 tons of gold (part 2)

Support from family

Mr. Tiep and his youngest son Tran Phuong Hong.

The family of Mr. Tran Van Tiep warmly backs the 97-year-old man in searching for the treasure to satisfy the last wish in his life. The local authorities, though licensing Tiep to explore the treasure, expressed their doubt.

The author of this story met with Mr. Tiep’s family to learn more about the old man’s “gold searching process.”

The family’s representative, Tran Phuong Hong, the youngest son of Mr. Tiep, said that Tiep has 11 children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most of his children succeed in life.

“Searching for the treasure is my father’s great wish for dozens of years so my family has assigned me to assist him in order to satisfy his last wish,” Hong said.

Hong said he is an assistant to Mr. Tiep. Everything related to the exploration is still decided by the father.

Hong said that when they were small, he and his brothers and sisters heard about the treasure from their father. They firstly doubted the existence of the treasure because of lacking scientific evidences.

“At first, I and my brothers and sisters dissuaded my father that he was old and he had everything so he did not need to find the treasure but he did not agree. Understanding that finding the treasure is his great determination and the last wish in his life so my family met and decided to support him,” Hong said.

According to Hong, after a geophysics company in Hanoi made a survey and affirmed of the existence of “metal ores” in the area where Mr. Tiep believes to have a “treasure”, the old man’s trust has been strengthened.

To prepare for “opening” the treasure in early 2012, Hong said that his family has estimated necessary capital of over VND3.3 billion ($157,000).

Mr. Hoang Van Sau, Tiep’s nephew, said that Tiep often told his descendants that he searched the treasure not for himself or his family but for the country. That is a waste if such a treasure is neglected.

Have doubts but still grant license

Meanwhile, though they have licensed Tiep to explore the treasure, many local officials still mistrust.

Dang Van Hai, former Chairman of Binh Thuan province, the first who signed in the license granted to Mr. Tiep to explore the treasure on Tau Mountain said: “Mr. Tiep does not believe in the treasure on Tau Mountain but he has also ‘discovered’ some other treasures in Tan Minh (Binh Thuan province) and Vung Tau province. Mr. Tiep met Mr. Tam Hien (former Party Secretary of Binh Thuan Province) when he was searching for the treasure in Tan Minh.”

Hai analysed: “Japanese army stationed in Tuy Phong from late 1944 to August 1945. There was not enough time for them to carry up to 4,000 tons of gold from the sea to Tau Mountain. There was no trace for transportation to the Tau Mountain. Before granting the license, I and Mr. Tiep made a fieldtrip to Tau Mountain.”

Asking Hai why he gave the license to Mr. Tiep? Hai answered: “I know for sure that there is no gold there. But to satisfy his aspiration, I asked him to deposit VND50 million to ensure leveling the mountain after exploration. Moreover, before granting the license, I consulted Mr. Kiet and Mr. Khai (PM Vo Van Kiet and Deputy PM Phan Van Khai). One year later, I checked and found out that Tiep dug to nearly 20m deep and destructed part of the mountain by mines. I knew that Tiep spent a lot of money and some people took advantage of him so I stopped the exploration.”

After that, new acting chairman of Binh Thuan, Tran Khan, again licence Mr. Tiep. Khan explained that he issued the license because of Tiep’s great determination to find the treasure and Tiep had presented some “proofs” which he said to collect them from the exploration site. More importantly, Tiep had the support of the former Party chief of Binh Thuan Province, Mr. Tam Hien.

“After consulting the provincial Party Committee and the government, I decided to grant him the license,” Khan added.

On October 10, 2011, Chairman of Binh Thuan Le Tien Phuong once again granted Tiep the license to explore the Tau Mountain.

Phuong said that Tiep had shown more evidences and especially a detailed plan of exploration, which is supported by modern equipment.

“Moreover, Tiep is now very old and he has pursued this job for his whole life. After consulting the higher authorities, I decided to give him a permit,” Phuong said.

Ho Ba, Chairman of Tuy Phong district, said: “In my point of view, let’s Mr. Tiep to carry out the last exploration. If he could not find the treasure this time, this will put an end to the doubt of the existence of a treasure on the Tau Mountain.”

Vague information

The Hanoi Geophysical Technology JS Company had helped Mr. Tiep in the measurement task to finalize Tiep’s documentation, which was submitted to Binh Thuan authorities to get the exploration license.

According to the survey report, signed by the Hanoi Geophysical Technology JS Company’s deputy director Nguyen Huu Hao, this firm used modern equipment manufactured by European companies in the survey.

According to the survey, there are blocks of metal of 10m width and at the depth of 50m in Tau Mountain besides some KAST caves (simulated by 3D photos). To define accurate reserves, drilling at the depth of 100m is needed.

The survey result is among foundations for Binh Thuan authorities to grant exploration license to Mr. Tiep. Accordingly, Tiep is permitted to make five drillings of 100m depth on Tau Mountain.

However, in a talk with the author of this article on October 25, 2011, Hao said that the survey is for reference only.

“By this moment, my company has not signed any contract with Mr. Tiep to explore the 4,000 ton gold treasure in Tau Mountain,” he said.

Hao added that the survey result in the document he signed on September 24, 2010, is inaccurate. “I only guessed that there is ore in Tau Mountain. I visited the site only twice, within 30 minutes each time. In such a short time, the measurement was very quick.”

He said that it is necessary to perform measurements and surveys by various methods. This task will take half of a month. If the measurement result is satisfactory, with several points of ores are defined, drilling is needed.

Asking Hao about the “high-class magnetic measurer MP21” that his firmed used at the Tau Mountain, he said that this is a product of his company, which is certified to have same quality with imported products. This machine is priced $7,000. However, he refused to go into detail about this “modern equipment.” He said information on this equipment is available on the Internet. However, the author of this article could not find any information about it by Google.

Hao also expressed his doubt over the “treasure” in Tau Mountain though he has cooperated with Mr. Tiep for several years and conducted measurements on the mountain twice.

“Mr. Tiep is nearly 100 years old but he has a sound mind. Since 1993 he has spent a lot of money and exerted effort to search the treasure. In my understanding, he could define whether that treasure exists or not 20 years ago by using machinery and scientific measures,” Hao said.

He said that his company is willing to assist Tiep to make a survey in Tau Mountain, but this time “a contract must be signed.”

Mr. Tiep’s assistant Hoang Duc said that the Hanoi Geophysical Technology JS Company’s equipment is not the most modern at present. Tiep has hired other organizations (in secret) with super-modern equipment that can define the metal in Tau Mountain is gold or bronze. However, Hoang Duc did not disclose when the equipment is brought to Tau Mountain.