KN Chapter 102

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Killer Nights

Chapter 102: Leads in the Abduction Case 2

 

After Liu Na left, Jiang Zhengkai leaned back into his chair.  Although Liu Na had mentioned just now that there’d been no traces of fingerprints in the van, she hadn’t said anything about any traces of blood being found in the vehicle either.  In other words, A-Jiao’s kidnappers hadn’t forcefully assaulted her once she was inside their vehicle. What could he deduce from this information? Well, it probably meant that the kidnappers had abducted A-Jiao for ransom money or for some other objective, not just to sexually assault her.

The thought of that actually made Jiang Zhengkai feel a bit more at ease.  Obviously, he’d been afraid that A-Jiao might’ve been hurt. No man wanted his woman to be assaulted by other men, even if she’d been a prostitute once.  But at least now, Jiang Zhengkai was able to rule out the possibility that the kidnappers were a sex trafficking ring or a group of serial rapists. If that had been the reason they’d kidnapped A-Jiao, they wouldn’t have bothered to hold back, especially in a stolen vehicle.

The crime’s modus operandi directed Jiang Zhengkai’s attention back to the alley murders.  Who could have been responsible for A-Jiao’s abduction? He quickly ruled out the deranged alley serial killer.  It also didn’t seem likely that the abduction could have been committed by A-Xiu or her associates, since the use of violence wasn’t a part of their style.  Could it have been the Bald Wolf then? Just thinking about it made Jiang Zhengkai narrow his brow for a moment. But no, it couldn’t have been him either. Jiang Zhengkai was convinced that A-Meng and A-Jiao already had some kind of relationship with the Bald Wolf, though he wasn’t certain about the specifics.  Still, Jiang Zhengkai paused for a second as he felt an inexplicable pang of sorrow in his heart. The Bald Wolf was the one who’d killed his wife and daughter. Every time Jiang Zhengkai thought about that man, he would always feel a heavy boulder crushing his soul.

Finally, Jiang Zhengkai’s thoughts once again turned towards Sui Zhongyi.  He gazed back at the documents in front of him. Sui Zhongyi made sense as the most likely suspect, though Li Hongbin was still a possibility.  Jiang Zhengkai sighed and sat back in his chair as he stared at the ceiling, pondering about the case. After a while, he slowly bowed his head and placed an “X” by Li Hongbin’s name.  Apparently, that was what he had been thinking about. He wanted to eliminate the impossible first, before focusing all of his attention on the possible.

There were two primary reasons why Jiang Zhengkai crossed out Li Hongbin’s name.  First, if Li Hongbin had wanted to abduct A-Jiao, he would have had no need to spend all that effort to acquire a stolen vehicle first.  Second, regardless of whether Li Hongbin wanted to abduct A-Jiao for sex or just for revenge, he would have had no reason to hold back once she was inside the van.  However, the kidnappers had been quite measured and scrupulous in their actions. It was almost as if they’d been under strict orders not to harm A-Jiao. Of course, it was possible that Li Hongbin had told the kidnappers not to touch A-Jiao, but from what Jiang Zhengkai knew about him, that playboy didn’t have very much discipline when it came to women.

So, the only suspect remaining was Sui Zhongyi.  But that begged the question: why would Sui Zhongyi want to abduct A-Jiao?  Was it to find out A-Xiu’s whereabouts? According to A-Tie’s statement and the confessions of the two captured henchmen, that was not beyond the realm of possibility.  A-Jiao was one of A-Xiu’s closest friends, after all. Although the other police were unaware of that fact, it was common knowledge to the women of the alley. Jiang Zhengkai nodded his head, satisfied that this was the most likely explanation for A-Jiao’s abduction.

“Inspector Jiang!” came a polite announcement, accompanied by a knock.  A beautiful young woman appeared in Jiang Zhengkai’s doorway. “Inspector Zou wanted me to deliver these documents to you.”

“Oh, alright, thanks!  Here, come on in!” Jiang Zhengkai politely waved in this female officer.  “Hey, I want to ask you something. How much do you know about a man named Sui Zhongyi?” he asked as he took the documents and started looking over them.

“I know a little bit,” the female officer replied as she stood in front of his desk.  “That man looks very gentle on the outside. Thus far, we have not been able to connect him to any murders.  However, his younger brother Sui Zhongli is a whole different matter. After Sui Dequan’s death, the remnants of his crime family have all fallen into the hands of these two brothers.”

“Sui Zhongli?” Jiang Zhengkai repeated this new name out loud as he looked back at the female officer.

“Yes, he just came back to China from abroad about a half year ago,” the female officer replied earnestly.  “Apparently, Sui Dequan sent him to oversee their operations in Myanmar while he was still alive.”

“Really?” said Jiang Zhengkai.  He unnaturally tapped his finger on his desk surface.  “What’s your name?”

“I’m Xue Na,” the female officer politely responded.  “Is there anything else, Inspector Jiang?”

“No, that’ll be all.  Thank you, Xue Na.” Jiang Zhengkai politely got out of his chair and saw her to the door.  Jiang Zhengkai had a feeling that Xue Na looked strangely familiar, but couldn’t quite put his finger on where he had seen her before.

Jiang Zhengkai diligently reviewed all of the documents Xue Na had handed him.  They soon sent him back into a quiet, pensive mood. According to these documents, Sui Zhongyi was the consummate businessman, just as Xue Na had said.  Even though his business was narcotics trafficking, it appeared from his record that he hadn’t the slightest interest in more unsavory crimes like murder, arson, or kidnapping.  Prior to Sui Zhongli’s return, these things had all been delegated to his his henchmen Guo Dinggang, Tang Xiaosheng, and Zhao Renchu. Yet all three of those men had died in the alley.  What did that signify? Were they not in the alley simply to solicit prostitutes? Had they had some other mission to accomplish there?

At this point, Jiang Zhengkai went back and flipped through Sui Zhongli’s customs entry and exit records.  According to his customs records, the last time he’d left the country was approximately two and a half years ago, and the last time he’d returned was approximately half a year ago.  And during that time period… Jiang Zhengkai paused for a moment and compared Sui Zhongli’s time abroad with the time period surrounding A-Xiu’s drug operations and the alley serial murders.  Indeed, they were a perfect match. Could this be a mere coincidence?

Jiang Zhengkai closed the document file folder and took it with him outside of his office.  “Liu Kun, Du Yuting, drop what you’re doing for a second. I’ve got an assignment for you. Find me the latest on Sui Zhongyi and Sui Zhongli’s activities, particularly Sui Zhongli!”

“Yes, Inspector Jiang!” Liu Kun and Du Yuting immediately acknowledged Jiang Zhengkai’s order.

Jiang Zhengkai stood there and pondered to himself for a while.  He then looked at Liu Na and said, “Liu Na, go talk to Sergeant Zhang and our colleagues at Vice again.  I want a complete dossier on every prostitute that has appeared in the alley within the last three years.  An electronic copy will suffice.” He walked out of his division’s office and went straight for the office of the narcotics division.

Right now, several invisible search nets had been cast out across the entire city.  Although these search nets were all under the control of the police bureau, there wasn’t just one person casting the nets.  Yet the target of the search nets was just one person: a woman named Ren Ziyuan. Most of the searchers didn’t actually know that she used to be a prostitute.  They did know, however, that the woman they were tasked with finding was a fellow officer’s girlfriend, and possibly even his fiancee.

For most cops, that was reason enough.  Perhaps some of them were normally a bit lazy with their work, and perhaps some of them were normally not very efficient in discharging their duties.  But when one of their own had been harmed or could possibly be harmed, then all of them suddenly came together as one. Righteousness sometimes came very easily, and other times very hard.  It was easy if being righteous was directly tied with your own interests, but it was hard if you lost your way on your path to being righteous.

From this perspective, A-Jiao right now should be happy, since she was the girlfriend of a well-respected police officer named Jiang Zhengkai.  As a result, the city’s entire police apparatus had sprung into action to find her. Countless men and women devoted all of their efforts to ensure her physical well-being.  But if A-Jiao had still been just a street-walking prostitute in the alley, would all those people be using the same amount of effort to find her and keep her from harm? No, probably not.  Perhaps all she could count on then was the gloved hands of the police coroner as he pulled a white sheet over her lifeless body.


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