Chapter 9 – Gotham City
“Are you sure?”
Jin-wook put his brain to work.
No water in her lungs means that the cause of death was not drowning. If so, wouldn’t there be a possibility of murder? A chance that someone killed her and then put her in the river?
“Then, what is your opinion on the real cause of death?”
“I don’t know. The prosecutor in charge was stopped from asking the National Forensic Service to look into the matter. From his immediate superior, no, maybe someone higher. He’s been on TV a lot these days. You know, he’s mentioned as the next presidential candidate. In-bae Lee, former mayor of Jinseong and the current governor of Gyeonggi.”
“What about him?”
“I was just a minor official at the time, so I didn’t know what was going on. Anyway, we had to discard all the records pertaining to this case, so I don’t have a picture left. I still remember this case because the way it was processed was very strange.”
“Can I see the prosecutor who was in charge?”
“You can try, but he won’t be helpful. He’s been a part of In-bae’s team from the start.”
“Didn’t her family raise any questions about her death?”
“Not at all, and I heard she was cremated without a funeral.”
“Wasn’t there a reinvestigation?”
“Who would do it? The dead woman is the daughter of CEO Myung-je Jin. No one would have wanted to get involved in this matter unless CEO Jin himself stepped up. As did I. Back then, Jinseong City was like that… like Gotham City in Batman.”
Jin-wook frowned thinking about Gotham, the city of evil and corruption.
He was also well aware of the notoriety of CEO Myung-je Jin, who once controlled the city of Jinseong. Apart from helming a promising company, Jinseong Construction, he was also the head of a gang called Jinseongpa.
Under the Jinseongpa banner, Myung-je Jin conducted all sorts of dirty works, including but not limited to smuggling, drugs, and prostitution. Being in cahoots with In-bae Lee, the then mayor of Jinseong City, unbridled, he’d thrived. Whenever In-bae connected with entrepreneurs, politicians, and lawyers, the ties were forged with the money, drugs, and, of course, women supplied by Myung-je Jin. The two ran a systematic syndicate, righteous on the surface, vile underneath.
They were absolutely evil and had the power to back it up. No one dared oppose them. So this officer’s remark, expressing his flat refusal in getting involved in this shenanigan, was fully understandable.
Finally, Jin-wook revealed the picture from the CCTV footage he’s carrying in his notebook. He laid it on the table for the man to see.
“Do you know this woman by any chance?”
The man took a few moments to look at the picture carefully. Then he shook his head and said, “Sorry, not familiar.”
Jin-wook closed his eyes tight and rubbed his head. The discussion had come to an end. There was nothing else he’d glean here. Taking a deep breath, he adjusted his thoughts and opened his eyes. He handed the man the payment that was agreed upon. The man thanked him, shook hands and took his leave.
When he was finally all by himself, Jin-wook made a call to Tae-jun. He’d to report to his boss, albeit an interim one. There was a lot of information, definite and ambiguous, explicit, and implicit. But for now, he decided to save his words on issues related to Hye-yeon’s death. What mattered was confirmation of her death.
“Her whereabouts after getting out of the taxi are unknown. Where she got off was such a crowded place. And I met the police officer who was in charge of Hye-yeon’s case. He said it was hard to find anything strange with the corpse. There was no rigged evidence.”
– So, is he sure that the body was Hye-yeon’s?
The dead girl was definitely Hye-yeon. He had hit a dead-end here. Jin-wook stared at the picture on the table before him. His instincts told him that the woman in the picture should be what he had to have doubts about. And never had his instincts failed him.
– All right.
Tae-jun said from the other side. There was not much emotion in his voice, not even dejection; as if he hadn’t expected much from the start.
– Then they would’ve known.
– Hye-yeon’s family.
Jin-wook had also considered her father, CEO Myung-je Jin, and brother, Hye-seong Jin. However, the two most closely related to Hye-yeon had not been accounted for after the bankruptcy of Jinseong Construction. Jin-wook reported to Tae-jun his findings.
“Myung-je Jin died shortly after Jinseong Construction went bankrupt.”
There was a brief silence.
– What was the reason?
“He was stabbed in the neck. It seems he’d interfered in a scuffle between gangsters. Rumor has it that In-bae Lee hired someone to kill him.”
– He probably had a disagreement with Lee In-bae, I guess. He was only reaping what he had sowed. What about Hye-seong?
“Regarding Hye-seong… after his father’s death, he went into hiding. It will take a while to find him.”
– Okay, keep working on it.
Tae-jun finished the call with a short message.
With the end of their conversation, thoughts reeled in Jin-wook’s mind. He had been with Tae-jun for 20 years but the man had somehow developed some kind of sharp, barbaric desire after Hye-yeon’s death. He seemed to be obsessed with her at every waking and non-waking moment. At first, he had brushed it off as a fleeting obsession, but four years hence, he held a different opinion. He knew his boss had yet to come to terms with her death. And now, this girl had shown up out of nowhere.
Is it a good sign or a bad sign? More importantly, who is this girl?
Jin-wook tapped on Hye-yeon’s photo in his notebook with a ballpoint pen. This was a conundrum, perhaps the biggest in his life, and the ‘cadaver dog’ was determined to get to the bottom of it at all costs.