Chapter 6: < Protect – Episode 5 – Park Ok Nam  >
Kim Dae Chan’s body boiled up at Ahn Soo Ho’s request to rewrite the contract and caused him to fly down to Jejudo using an inspection as an excuse. The Jejudo affiliates of Daesan Group stiffened up upon the vice-chairman’s arrival.
“That was really quick, Dae Chan.”
“I have to stamp the contract as soon as possible so you won’t go back on your word.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“It’s not that, tsk. I’m sorry. I haven’t been in the right mind these days.”
Kim Dae Chan, who was sitting on the sofa, leaned his head back.
“I keep getting anxious.”
“What about the old man?”
“He’s not worried at all.”
“Then it must be okay.”
If a man like Kim Dae San was relaxed, that meant things were okay at the moment. In comparison to his father, not only was Kim Dae Chan lacking in experience, but he also needed to adapt the winning attitude hidden beneath his father’s cold rationality.
Kim Dae San was confident that no external threats could bring him down, and above all, Daesan Group’s status as number one in the business world was strong enough to sway the public opinion.
With the staff, subcontractors, and their families put together, Daesan Group’s family was comprised of five million people. In Korea, almost all business men were somewhat connected to Daesan Group. When people called Korea “Daesan Empire”, there was actually some truth to it.
“I doubt they’re trying to destroy Daesan. It’s not realistic.”.
“That’s true… But I heard the National Tax Service already wants to conduct a tax investigation.”
“That’ll probably just end with a small fine. The Financial Supervisory Service is what we need to worry about. Once they start looking for slush funds and look through your overseas funds, your stock prices will plummet. It’ll probably affect the patent litigation too.”
“Because of that, our legal department is hectic these days.”
Even though a major corporation like Daesan Group was used to dealing with all sorts of lawsuits, they were currently on a fierce battlefield.
Kim Dae Chan, who leaned his head back, said something completely irrelevant.
Ahn Soo Ho, who played along, wasn’t very normal either.
“Should we eat something?”
“Where should we go?”
“I have a good place in mind.”
The security team leader wasn’t sure about Kim Dae Chan and Ahn Soo Ho heading out on their own, so they agreed to go with two security guards. It might sound unbelievable, but the team leader seemed to trust Ahn Soo Ho. The two security guards in their everyday outfits looked like any old tourists. Ahn Soo Ho scanned them with an unsatisfied expression.
“What is this? Do you consider looks when you hire security guards too?”
They were tall and good-lookin, and they could almost be mistaken for models. In any case, the four of them got into one car. With a director of Daesan Group in the driver’s seat, the vice-chairman in shotgun, and the two security guards in the comfy back seats, it was a sight hard to imagine. As one would predict, the security guards were restless.
“Just get in.”
After Ahn Soo Ho dominated the good-looking guys’ defiance, he started the car.
“Where are we going?”
“Wherever this car takes us.”
“What? I thought you had somewhere in mind.”
“That place is only open for dinner.”
Kim Dae Chan smirked at his watch, which indicated that it was only ten in the morning. That meant he wanted to be together until dinner time. For the vice-chairman who spent every minute wisely, hanging out was catastrophic.
“Chief Kim grits his teeth every time he sees you, you know.”
“Because you ruin schedules.”
“Really? Haha. I wish I could have seen that old maid’s contorted face. Too bad.”
The vice-chairman’s chief of secretary, Kim Jung In, was a capable woman, and people were predicting that she would join the board of directors when Kim Dae Chan became the chairman. Since she valued time very much, she hated Ahn Soo Ho, who did whatever he wanted.
“Let’s eat that.”
The car stopped in front of a kiosk on the side of the road. They didn’t even have time to get out of the car because they someone had already come to the window as soon as they rolled it down.
The grandmother spoke informally with a distinct dialect.
“Have a good day.”
After exchanging blessings, the car took off. Kim Dae Chan took turns glancing at Ahn Soo Ho and the object in his hands with a confused face.
“Can’t you see? It’s fruit juice.”
“I can see that. But why did you buy food like this?”
“Haha! You’re such a newbie! Street food is the most delicious food there is.”
He cut off the grumbling Kim Dae Chan and lectured him.
“Let me tell you about this fruit juice.”
The frozen juice made with Jejudo’s oranges was a staple in any traveler’s itinerary. Actually, it was delicious for just about anyone.
“Wow! Wind power generators! How?”
Kim Dae Chan, who was at awe at the dozen wind power generators, received a pitiful look and a head shake from Ahn Soo Ho.
“Your company made those.”
The vice-chairman couldn’t really know every business that their group was managing. Ahn Soo Ho stopped the car in the middle of the wilderness. There were no high-rise buildings. The house with a blue, orange, and green rooftop was no higher than three stories high. It was not the most beautiful view in the world, but it had the power of giving the viewers comfort.
“This is nice.”
Even though enjoying the ocean winds with three other men was not his preferred activity of choice, Kim Dae Chan was just happy to have escaped his cutthroat work life. The pressure he has to bear as someone who must take responsibility for the business his father established and the countless families under it was unimaginable for most.
Rich people didn’t have as much freedom as people thought. As the head of a household and a company, as well as the leader of Korea’s economy, Kim Dae Chan was always full of worries. Was he happy? He probably was. But his standard of happiness was at a whole different level. At times, he dreamed of abandoning everything, but that was all in his imagination.
“But wouldn’t it be okay for just a day?”
‘If it was me, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.’
Kim Dae Chan couldn’t help but laugh at Ahn Soo Ho who was indifferent to the security guards and the group’s vice-chairman. The best escapes would be with people one mashed well. The son had a cheap taste just like his father. The way he snatched other people’s kimbap looked all too natural. The two security guards, however, looked blank. Seeing the vice-chairman of Daesan Group eating 3000 won kimbap on the streets made them very confused.
“Where are we going next?”
“Since we had lunch, let’s get some coffee. What was it called again? Sunrise Peak. Have you been there before, Dae Chan?”
“What’s the point in making lots of money? You should go on more vacations with your wife and kids.”
“We’ve been to Europe a lot.”
“Yeah right! I bet you were just there for business.”
“Hm, I can’t say that’s not true.”
He did go abroad with his family quite often. The problem was that it was mainly for business. And Kim Dae Chan was well aware that such visits didn’t count as a real vacation.
Jejudo Sunrise Peak
It was a legendary scenic spot that every tourist must visit when they go to Jejudo. Maybe that was why it was so crowded. Statistics said over 13 million tourists visited Jejudo last year, so the destinations have already been predetermined. After Ahn Soo Ho sipped his iced coffee and looked around, he clicked his tongue.
“I don’t think Jejudo has as many rocks, wind, and women as they say. Well, I guess there are a lot of rocks and wind, but as for women… What do you think? You probably see beautiful women everywhere you go.”
“Watch your mouth. I’m married.”
“Don’t rich people sleep around like they do in movies and dramas?”
“Those damn movies and dramas. That’s not true, but you probably don’t believe me. Where the hell do the writers get these ideas? I’ve never met another rich person with secrets behind their birth.”
“The viewers love it, though.”
He had heard about affairs from time to time, but they were nothing in comparison to the stories in movies. Most of the Asians roaming about in Jejudo were Chinese. The Chinese were imitating what Japan did in Europe and the States during the rapid growth period. The funny thing was that Korea thought China was more disgraceful than Japan.
“When it comes to group tours, Korean men and women are horrible too.”
One should never point a foul finger, but when it does occur, people tend to look at their own side with great bias. After Ahn Soo Ho stirred his ice around in his empty plastic cup, he talked to the security guard, who still had his guard up.
“How old are you?”
“I’m 29 years old?”
“That’s a great age. Do you have a girlfriend?”
His response was a slightly delayed. Ahn Soo Ho smiled brightly and looked at the other security guard.
“What about you?”
“I’m 28 years old… and I don’t have a girlfriend.”
He laughed loudly.
“Don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t making fun of you.”
“Yeah right. You were.”
Kim Dae Chan, who was also stirring his ice around in his plastic cup, jumped into the conversation.
“I think you’re the one misunderstanding. These two aren’t single because they can’t find anyone. My security guards aren’t allowed to date.”
“No, I’m not. That’s total bullsh*t. What kind of rule is that? Do you want them to die single?”
“It’s a safety regulation.”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho got angry at the absurd regulation, the security guard explained further.
“If I do date someone, I have to report it just in case.”
“Hm. Just in case of a honey trap?”
“Yes. It has happened before.”
He wasn’t wrong. If they can’t get to the target directly, the next ones to approach would be the security guards.
“Dae Chan, do you trust these two?”
“With my life.”
“That must mean you’re really picky when you hire them.”
The security team leader stood closest to the vice-chairman, and they conducted thorough interviews in hiring the other security guards. Frankly speaking, they were loyal to Kim Dae Chan, not the group. Along with the secretary’s office, the security service had to be a trustworthy army.
“From this point forward, let everything I say enter one ear and exit through the other.”
After chewing on the remaining ice, Ahn Soo Ho threw his empty cup into the garbage can. Kim Dae Chan also returned to his serious self.
“Did you find anything?”
“It’s pretty expensive, though. Are you okay with that?”
“I don’t care about money. Tell me.”
12 million US dollars would be 15 billion won. With the brokerage rate and fees, it would be over 20 billion won. No matter how much money Daesan Group had, 20 billion won was still a lot of money.
“You established a corporation in Venezuela three years ago, right?”
“Venezuela? Yeah, we did. We established a corporation in almost every South American country back then.”
Three years ago, Daesan Group announced a South American investment plan, and with the cooperation of many leaders, they proceeded with their projects. At that time, however, the hostage incident took place. The gang, Charate, which dominated Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, kidnapped Daesan Group’s inspectors and asked for money in return for their safety.
“Is the States involved?”
“I considered that possibility too. No matter how strong that gang was, it mustn’t have been easy to kidnap inspectors surrounded by security guards. There must have been an insider.”
“That must mean Aragon knew about it from the beginning.”
“Aragon? You’re right. They must have known.”
Aragon, which was a paramilitary group that dominated South America, was in charge of guarding the group’s inspectors as a multinational company based in the States.
“The CIA probably led the kidnapping. They were probably black ops who had formally denied any connections with it.”
“Why would the CIA do all of that?”
“Why? The reason is important. Take a deep breath and listen to me carefully.”
The States’ South America strategy was simple—torment them or let them fight among themselves. They made sure to give them enough hope while making sure they would never become an advanced country. The wider the gap between the rich and poor, the better. They instigated crimes such as drug trade, prostitution, human trafficking, and the sale of weapons and human organs while protecting the American corporation’s economic predators.
“The States probably didn’t like Daesan Group’s investment plan.”
Kim Dae Chan sighed deeply. He remembered being advised by the Korean government to defer any investments on economically unstable countries.
“From what I remember… the media labor union sh*t on them for draining national wealth.”
Even though the hostage incident was resolved without any sacrifices, Daesan Group was met with a headwind by the media.
“How did you resolve something that the CIA was involved in?”
“It’s a company secret… so I can’t tell you.”
“Then why did you ask about Venezuela?”
“When you go back to Seoul, you should report the person in charge of South America.”
“He’s a spy.”
“Of the CIA?”
Ahn Soo Ho shook his head.
“Oh my god!”
“Do you see what’s going on here?”
“Sorry, but I have to go!”
Their enjoyable time ended there. Ahn Soo Ho, who watched Kim Dae Chan vanish with his security guards, frowned at what came to mind.
How was he supposed to get back?
< Protect – Episode 5- Park Ok Nam  >