Chapter 25: < Protect – Episode 24 – Kim Soo Jung  >
Kim Kang Woon’s body had been left alone in Daesan Group’s safety house in Seoul.
“Report it to the police.”
Ahn Soo Ho, who went to the house without Oh Joo Kyung, gathered the men who were protecting the place.
“Then what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know about exposing it before we know the truth…”
“Are you the police?”
“No, but it could lead to misunderstandings.”
Ahn Soo Ho clicked his tongue and looked at them pitifully.
Kim Dae San and these people had a big misunderstanding.
“What are you going to do after you find out the truth? Are you going to arrest the suspect?”
“If Vice-President Kim Kang Woon was murdered, that’d be proof that someone’s trying to lander our group.”
“Don’t misunderstand. We’re not judicial authorities.”
What Ahn Soo Ho hoped for when he told Kim Dae Chan about the sky was for him to follow standard judicial procedures. However, it all went off the rail. Daesan Group’s illegal retribution involving kidnapping, confinement, and threatening came back in the form of a body. There was a strict order for the scene to be left alone, so the body was left on the couch. It was difficult to find any traces of beating or torture, but nowadays, professionals could make something into murder or suicide.
“How many people approached after Mr. Kim was confined?”
‘Hm. Twenty-two people? Around there.”
“What about the chairman or the vice-chairman?”
“Please tell me.”
He looked distressed at Ahn Soo Ho’s sharp questioning, but he didn’t throw a fit.
“Vice-Chairman Kim Dae Chan visited. But Vice-President Kim Kang Woon was still alive after their first meeting.”
“That’s not important. You’ll have to testify who approached Mr. Kim.”
“Ev… even the vice chairman?”
He was stuttering as if he was really taken aback.
“Then did you think you were going to conceal it? You’ve watched too many movies and dramas, everyone.”
Ahn Soo Ho took out his phone with a frown. The man in front of him didn’t seem to have more to say, but he gestured for him to back off. Soon afterward, Kim Dae Chan’s voice could be heard.
“How did it go, Soo Ho?”
“The situation is serious.”
“Is it murder?”
“We won’t know without an autopsy. Report it to the police.”
“How much of it?”
“All of it.”
“Tell them everything.”
Trying to hide it could have easily led to a headwind. A candlelight protest was taking place and the government wanted a scapegoat. If a murder scandal breaks out at this point, the situation could take an unexpected turn.
“We have to avoid any misunderstandings.”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Dae Chan. Maybe this is for the best. We can connect this with the hostage incident from three years ago.”
“The hostage incident?”
Ahn Soo Ho smirked.
“We have to drag a Yankee into this.”
The reason why the deputy director of the CIA visited Korea and kicked out Cranky was because he was worried Daesan Group would bring the States down with them. The States never gets involved with doubtful deaths or uncomfortable situations, but every time they were criticized for sacrificing innocent people for the good of Pax Americana’s honor, there was a limit to how long staying silent would work for.
“Prepare for a press conference. Also, it’ll be more effective if you or the old man step up yourself.”
“We need that kind of impact.”
If the States, who just sat back and enjoyed the show, was brought out onto the stage, it would most likely lead to nothing. That was because the nation’s gains and justice couldn’t be combined into one.
“Is there a way to avoid reporting it to the police?”
“Don’t do anything stupid, Dae Chan.”
Ahn Soo Ho answered firmly to Kim Dae Chan’s careful voice.
“I think you and the old man are having a misunderstanding. The group isn’t a kingdom. And even if it was, do you think you can control every one of your subjects? No way.”
Maybe if there wasn’t a candlelight protest going on, but right now, there were too many eyes that were difficult to avoid.
“It’s better to accept it and let it go.”
“So you want me to go to the police station.”
“Yes, it’s not like you can send the old man. And they’ll like it if you step up and get some attention. It’d be good to show off a little and lead a negotiation.”
“I’m not sure if this is for my own good… but fine.”
“This press conference has to look grim. Just like a general on a battlefield.”
There was a need to exaggerate the fact a hostage was kidnapped, a spy was planted, and an executive was bribed and threatened for the purpose of preventing Daesan Group’s development. That was because people didn’t know how vicious the fights for rights between famous corporations were. Top-ranking companies above a certain level had to gain national power rather than improving their quality and service in order to grow.
– Vice-President Kim Kang Woon of Daesan Consulting found dead!
– A police investigation has begun! No one knows if it was a murder or suicide!
– He could have been a whistleblower who sympathized for the reformation of the rich!
– Vice-Chairman Kim Dae Chan voluntarily appeared at the police station? Why?
– Vice-Chairman Kim Dae Chan holds a press conference in front of the police station!
The press conference led by Kim Dae Chan, who was the heir and future leader of the Daesan Group and the Korean economy, received a lot of attention, and he was quite shocked as well.
– The hostage incident 3 years ago was a conspiracy to harm Daesan Group!
– Was it true or false? The fierce corporation war didn’t leave out murder or kidnapping!
– Were economical wars really gun-free? No way! Guns had to be involved!
– There were countless people who went missing without a trace!
There were countless people who went missing due to corporate litigations and disputes. They eventually exceeded the level of simple conspiracies, so they had to act on a criminal
organization level. The problem was that there was no evidence, so it couldn’t be proven. Even if there was a 99.9% chance that it was true, without the 0.1% proof, they couldn’t be punished.
“Is the law just?”
The world from a long time ago was a lot simpler. People thought it was uncivil, but victims had the right to get revenge on the assailant. Since a certain time period, personal revenge became prohibited. The question was whether or not this law was for the good of the people. If a rich person and a poor person fought in court, who would the law side with? Ninety-nine percent of the time, the side with the rich lawyer would win.
The law had been optimized for capitalism.
The law used the logic behind politics.
The judicial system was not fair at all.
“But democracy has been historically fairer than anything.”
“Then is this a probability issue?”
“That’s why the word “universal” is so scary. No matter how angry and wronged I feel, I still have to follow the world’s standards. Even if forty-nine people hate it, if fifty-one people like it, there’s no fighting it.”
That was how majority votes and statistics came about.
“Are you saying majority votes are bad?”
“It’s not about whether or not we like it. That depends on the person.”
Most people thought democracy brought about freedom and equality, but that wasn’t the truth. Mankind had become vertically integrated. The Kim Dae Chan that Ahn Soo Ho knew wasn’t a good person, but he wasn’t a bad person either. Differentiating good people and bad people was always subjective.
Kim Dae Chan’s press conference was a new turning point for the candlelight protest. Conspiracy theories spread like wildfire, and as the focus of the powerful nations’ secret deal was pinpointed, the embassies of each nation suffered. Everyone was focused on whether or not Vice-President Kim Kang Woon of Daesan Consulting killed himself or was murdered.
In contrast to Seoul City Hall and Gwanghwamun Station, which was chaotic due to the political world, Hongdae and Apgujeong Rodeo Street were full of young energy. Even though the news conveyed Korea as a country that flipped upside down, a few kilometers away was still booming. The vibe was so different that it seemed like a whole different country.
“Ms. Oh, do you think Vice-President Kim Kang Woon was murdered?”
“That’s what the security service thinks.”
“Who do they think did it?”
She opened her eyes wide and answered Ahn Soo Ho’s question.
“No trace was left behind. How did they kill him?”
“Maybe they used some kind of poison.”
He shook his head with a bitter smile. People were too influenced by movies and dramas. It wasn’t easy to make a poison that would kill a person in one go. It was like committing suicide using pesticides. There were very few people in this world who were that skilled at killing like in the movies and dramas.
“It’s easy to kill with a knife or gun. But it’s very difficult to kill someone without leaving a trace.”
The common trait among the professionals was that they declined work that would put them at the center of attention. Not all killers were like Jason Bourne.
“Do you think it was a suicide?”
“What about disease?”
“The vice-president wasn’t that young. Even though he wasn’t confined for long, it’s possible that he had a cardiac arrest due to the stress.”
In contrast to whoever wrote the famous saying about suddenly dropping onto the desk and dying, Kim Kang Woon wasn’t that young. Someone suddenly jumped into Ahn Soo Ho and Oh Joo Kyung’s conversation.
“There will be a lot of speculation until the autopsy comes out.”
Kim Soo Jung sat across from Ahn Soo Ho without asking for permission.
“Sigh. One 500cc of beer, please!”
Some might think she was rude for ordering a beer like that in a Japanese restaurant, but no one cared since she was a regular.
“This is Oh Joo Kyung, and this is Kim Soo Jung.”
“I’m Kim Soo Jung. Wow. You’ve got game, Soo Ho.”
After shaking hands with Oh Joo Kyung, she showed a meaningful smile.
“Don’t even. We’re just working together.”
“Why are you being so serious? Are you…”
“Kim Soo Jung.”
She tried to loosen up the mood with a joke, but as someone who was pressured by Mrs. Park Ok Nam, a joke didn’t cut it. Kim Soo Jung could have received secret orders from his mom.
“You’re not going to continue working in the culture division, are you?”
“I do want to go back to the newsroom… but why? Do you have a case?”
“Don’t you want to know the full story about the hostage incident?”
As Ahn Soo Ho looked at Kim Soo Jung’s beaming eyes, the CIA headquarters in Virginia faced the bitter reality of the hostage incident, also known as Operation B, coming back up to the surface. Deputy Director Jeremy Eaton O’Hare of the CIA pushed his hair back.
“This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all.”
“Vice-Chairman Kim played a very strong card.”
“Kim? No. This is someone else’s doing.”
Jeremy looked back at his subordinate who didn’t leave.
“What is it?”
“Do we have to let him drag us around like this?”
“Who? Soo Ho?”
“Yes. He’s nothing but a citizen of South Korea.”
“He’s an honorary citizen of our country too.”
“Are you talking about Mr. Guardian?”
Jeremy didn’t think it was necessary to answer.
“Is he warning us not to just sit back and watch?”
Whenever the States started anything, Japan was dispatched to do the work. The relationship between Korea and Japan had always been bad, but the agents who had one foot in the States’ political world might have wanted Daesan Group to go down.
“That way, they’ll get some crumbs off the table.”
Whether they succeed or fail, the States had nothing to lose. That was until what happened yesterday.
“We didn’t send them, did we?”
“No, we didn’t.”
“Are you sure?”
Jeremy wasn’t the only deputy director of the CIA. There were a total of five deputy directors in charge of domestic intelligence, foreign intelligence and operations, support, and more. He was ranked 4th in all of Asia, India, and Oceania.
“Look into whether he died of murder or a disease.”
The States was always ready to accept Ahn Soo Ho as a citizen.
“Don’t we usually get rid of them if we can’t control them?”
Jeremy wanted to applaud his spirit. Since 8 years had passed already, it was about time they set things aside. Jeremy changed the subject.
“Are you aware that our security system changed eight years ago?”
“I know there was a lot of controversies back then, but everyone’s pretty satisfied now.”
“It was a big business that cost forty billion dollars. Many were opposed. They asked why we were fixing a protocol that worked just fine.”
Since it was a time when the national defense budget increased and a National Assembly hearing opened as a result, proposing to change the security system obviously caused a commotion. But it was surprisingly passed without much difficulty.
“There were rumors about them lobbying the assembly regarding the DCMA… but that’s not true.”
“It’s thanks to him.”
“Then it was because of Mr. Guardian?”
8 years ago, Ahn Soo Ho participated as an infiltration agent that tested the States’ newest security system. With the goal of presenting the States’ superb counter-terrorism abilities and security technology, they gave a demonstration to honored guests every year. On that day, one infiltration agent saw the White House, the Pentagon, the National Assembly, the CIA, and all military establishments get their security breached.
“That was kept a secret.”
They had actually made it to the last steps of initiating Ahn Soo Ho’s murder but before they could do it, a threat report made the CIA nervous. The supercomputer made a calculation regarding the murder, and it said it was almost impossible.
“The rich called him the guardian angel.”
The ones with a lot of money called Ahn Soo Ho their guardian angel. However, after seeing him incapacitate the States’ security system overnight made the agents a little uncomfortable.
“We call him a magician.”
He still hasn’t revealed how he infiltrated the White House. Everyone was possessed as if he really was a wizard.
No one could kill whoever Ahn Soo Ho was protecting.
In other words, the ones he goes after would die.
< Protect – Episode 24 – Kim Soo Jung  > The end.