Chapter 39 – Aid #3
Kang-suk gave a brief outline of the hippo case.
Shin Se-ho would just follow him anyway if he moved to another place. The dangerous part was having a conversation without any sensitive information leaking out.
“… Wah. So they drink water until they die. They weren’t forced to do it?”
“Hey! Keep quiet! There are ears listening.”
Hyun-ho bowed exaggeratedly.
Kang-suk laughed. Although it had been more than seven years since they graduated from university, Shin Hyun-ho was still the same old Shin Hyun-ho.
The two people had met at a university reasoning club. Cho Kang-suk and Joo Hyun-ho liked reasoning out mysteries, and won the TV program ‘Mafia Game.’
Hyun-ho was the so-called ‘chaebol’ who owned several buildings in Gangnam. By only breathing, he could earn hundreds of millions of won in a month.
Kang-suk always wondered why Hyun-ho became a profiler. Hyun-ho had responded to that question with:
–I can’t be satisfied with only fiction, Sunbae.
Kang-suk felt goosebumps when he thought of the Hyun-ho of that time.
“Hyun-ho. These are my personal thoughts.”
“I’m glad that you became a profiler. In many ways.”
“Ahaha! Thank you for praising me, Sunbae.”
After exchanging some conversation, Kang-suk and Hyun-ho rose from their spot.
Kang-suk went to the counter and paid before saying.
“Hyun-ho, start your car now. Run away!”
At Kang-suk’s words, Joo Hyun-ho ran out.
Shin Se-ho, who had been watching the two people at ease, was amazed. Cho Kang-suk and Joo Hyun-ho had suddenly disappeared from right in front of him.
Today’s scoop was over. However, this wasn’t enough to make Shin Se-ho give up.
After the cafe, Kang-suk and Hyun-ho headed to the bathroom where the second murder occurred.
Kang-suk sat in the passenger seat and stretched out. If this case were ever to be exposed to the media, then it wouldn’t just end with him taking off all his clothes and begging.
Hyun-ho turned on the police signal since he wanted to see the scene quickly.
Cho Kang-suk said.
“Oh, have you eaten lunch? Let’s go to eat after seeing the scene. Hyung will pay!”
“Ey, you’re just going to eat jajangmyun again. Furthermore, I’m not hungry. From now on, I will be seeing something truly delicious.”
Hyun-ho laughed like he was truly having fun.
“Sometimes I wonder if you’re either a genius or a psycho.”
“Genius is right, Sunbae.”
“Aigoo… Ah, that is the bathroom.”
Kang-suk sighed and pointed to a building across the street.
“The poor owner, it seems like it was just recently built. Now that a murder has happened, he will need to sell it. Even so, there aren’t many public baths or saunas in the area.”
After parking the car in the area, Kang-suk headed to the scene of the crime. The policeman on guard stared at the gleaming BMW with wide eyes. Then he nodded with a convinced expression after seeing Joo Hyun-ho exit the driver’s seat.
“Detectives, you’ve worked hard!”
“Jong-wook as well.”
“No! Then come in!”
All the evidence had been collected from the scene of the incident, including the dust.
Kang-suk pulled out the investigation file from his bag. The evidence was placed according to where they were found.
Hyun-ho scanned the investigation file and pointed to where the body was.
“Then I’ll be looking at this. Sunbae should recreate how the body was found over there.”
“Hey! Why should I recreate it?”
“It is needed for the investigation.”
Kang-suk grumbled, but reluctantly followed Hyun-ho’s instructions. If Hyun-ho didn’t become a police officer, then he would be a criminal. However, Kang-suk had to recognize his abilities.
Kang-suk lay down on the floor in the same shape that was drawn, bending his arms and body as much as possible.
Hyun-ho couldn’t hold back his laughter.
“Hahahaha! Sunbae! You look like a deep fried shrimp.”
“… This bastard.”
Kang-suk got up and put Hyun-ho into a headlock.
“Keeek! I-I surrender! Give up!”
“I knew you would be like this. Are you a complete pervert?”
“B-But I think I know how he killed them.”
Kang-suk freed Hyun-ho.
He knew how the victims had died. They had drunk a large amount of water, causing their breathing to be blocked and their internal organs to rupture. However, the mystery of how it happened was still unsolved. Yet, Joo Hyun-ho had solved it after only five minutes.
“It seems like I did well to bring you over. Yes, Joo Hyun-ho brain cells are still working.”
“Yep. Now leave it to me!”
Joo Hyun-ho noted some of the evidence.
First of all, the victim had been biting a long tube until she died, with leather straps tied around her neck. Finally, there was a bucket filled with various foreign substances.
“The victim was in an immovable state with her arms tied behind her back.”
“That’s right. He then forced them to drink a lot of water… Ah, damn. Crazy bastard. I will surely put him in jail!”
Kang-suk directed some killing intent towards the criminal. However, Joo Hyun-ho’s reasoning was just beginning.
“Their neck was tied down with a leather strap, and the water was in the bathtub?”
“… I said it in the car.”
“Then that means that her head was completely submerged. If that was the case, then she should’ve immediately drowned.”
“But she didn’t die straight away.”
“Yes. She was able to breathe in a certain amount of air through the tube, which could be referred to as a lifeline.”
There was a long, plastic tube found in the evidence, the victim holding it until the moment of her death. There were the clear teeth marks on one side.
“So, she struggled in a tied state…”
The victim’s body was full of small wounds.
The coroner said that she was probably floundering about.
“Yes. It seems like the perpetrator blocked the tube connected to the victim’s mouth and then released it, in order to enjoy her suffering.”
Kang-suk broke the file he was holding.
“Of course, the culprit wasn’t satisfied with just that, so he used this.”
Hyun-ho pointed to the bucket next.
The capacity was one litre.
“The victim drank water desperately. Why? Well, just imagine it. The victim’s eyes are covered and her body is tied up. The culprit then blocks the tube to make her choke.”
Kang-suk’s face turned red as he desperately tried to hold back.
“Then the bucket appeared. There was clearly liquid in here. Water wasn’t the only liquid in her body, was it? Milk, soy sauce… There was also cooking oil. This is the reason why.”
Hyun-ho put the tube in the bucket.
“One litre. She had to desperately drink it all in order to breathe.”
First was milk. Then there was soy sauce. Finally, the cooking oil. He gave her increasingly hard things to drink.
Despite being nauseated, she had to drink in order for her to breathe. Desperately…
“If she drank it all, then she could breathe again. That’s why the bucket was empty at the moment of death. And…”
This time, Hyun-ho put the tube in the bathtub.
“Lastly, the hippo placed the tube here. The victim started to drink litres of water that she couldn’t finish. In the end…”
The stomach became engorged, and the victim drank water until the moment of death.
All this was done in order to live? If she drank one litre of water then she could breathe. Just one more sip… If she took one more sip, then she could breathe. She believed in something that hadn’t been promised, and drank the water in the bathtub. And in the end…
The desperate act of trying to live drove herself to her ultimate death.
“This crazy bastard!”
Kang-suk howled like a beast at the terrible truth. The hippo used the victim’s will to live as a murder tool.
“My reasoning is up to here. Uh, by the way, there is salt. Then, the last thing the victim drank was salt water? What was he thinking when he made her drink that? Sunbae…? Um. I will tell you my profile after you calm down a bit.”
Kang-suk was ready to shoot a gun if the hippo appeared in front of him.
Eventually, he settled down after 30 minutes.
“I’m sorry. I was a little excited.”
“No problem, Sunbae. I’ll tell you what I’ve figured out about the hippo now.”
Hyun-ho gave his rough profile containing the hippo’s age and personality to Kang-suk.
After finishing, Hyun-ho said.
“My job is over. Now it is Sunbae’s turn. Please catch the killer. Ah right. This is a personal favor. Once you arrest him, can you leave the psychological analysis to me? I’m interested in the criminal called the hippo.”
Hyun-ho laughed like he was happy.
“… That isn’t hard. But I don’t know if the bastard will be able to speak properly.”
If Kang-suk caught him, then there would be a punch in the face.
Kang-suk’s eyes were filled with killing intent.
There were only two days left until the next full moon.
Tae-hyuk knew who the hippo was, his job, what he looked like, what he liked, all of those things.
The problem was that he knew the hippo too well. He knew information that only the hippo would know. If he wasn’t careful, then he might be framed as the hippo.
“I have to avoid being falsely accused, no matter what.”
Tae-hyuk laughed bitterly as he thought of the identity of the hippo.
Tae-hyuk knew where he was. If he beat the hippo’s head with the iron pipe and took him to the police station, then the murders would no longer happen. However, there was no evidence that he was the hippo, meaning there would be no reason to hold the hippo.
The most obvious thing to do was to catch him attempting to commit a crime.
He had packed a few hidden cameras from the voyeur incident a while ago so they would be very useful.
Tae-hyuk smiled at the hidden cameras on the table. Then he would go and install these at the hippos’ third crime scene…
At this moment, Tae-hyuk realized that he had forgotten one important thing. He couldn’t remember the exact place of the crime.
“Wait a minute. Obviously the hippo killed the third time at the… Ugh, damn. It was definitely an aquarium. I don’t remember the exact aquarium!”
Tae-hyuk looked at the blacklist. The exact name wasn’t written down.
“Well, there aren’t many aquariums. Eh? Wait a minute. Aquariums are even open at night. It isn’t a place to commit a crime, even if there are no customers.
The hippo didn’t kill the victims instantly. He enjoyed watching them die slowly. If so, doing it in an aquarium would be impossible.
Tae-hyuk connected to the Internet on his smartphone and searched for an aquarium that wasn’t open. There was only one place.
Tae-hyuk checked the location.
The aquarium was approximately five kilometres from his home.
“… Isn’t this closer than I thought?”
It was around 15 bus stops away. In such a nearby place, a bizarre murder would take place two days later.
“Then tonight, I will go and install the trap.”
Tae-hyuk had no intention of ending it with the camera alone.
He had the crime skills to help him.