Gold hunt in 'cursed' cave near Malacca
TREASURE said to be worth billions is believed to be buried inside a cave on Pulau Nangka, a tiny island 17km off the coast of Malacca.
Among the items believed to be in the ancient treasure trove are chests of gold bars, a throne and royal regalia.
Malacca's state government has given permits to two local companies to carry out excavation work under strict conditions set by the Malacca Museum Corporation.
"For now, they have been authorised to collect only pictorial evidence," Chief Minister Idris Haron said.
Mr Idris said the treasure on the island had been rumoured for centuries and there had been many attempts by treasure hunters, some of whom had used dynamite to blow up boulders, to get to the cavern.
"It is not scientific, but locals believe there are mystical obstacles preventing the treasure from being taken," the chief minister said.
According to villagers, the buried cave is either protected by a curse or by spirits.
A small group of people reportedly got into the cave about 30 years ago, but none came out with even a single piece of bounty.
They reportedly came out dazed and in a trance-like state after claiming to have seen, among other things, more than 80 chests of gold.
It is understood that representatives of the two companies that would be carrying out the excavation works for the state government had sought "spiritual help" before undertaking their venture.
Among the theories surrounding the buried treasure is that it could be part of a fortune stashed away by the last Sultan of Malacca, who fled with most of his gold bullion before the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK