Chapter 634: The Old Cannon

Chapter 634: The Old Cannon[1] 

Chen Shi found out from Geng Qing about several people who had bad blood with the deceased. Everyone went to investigate them.

The first was a middle-aged man named Han Dabao who was a neighbor of Geng Zhangle’s. According to the investigation, the two had a disagreement last year and had a war of words. Han Dabao had gotten angry and cut the cable of Geng Zhangle’s cable TV that passed by his own house with a knife.

Geng Zhangle "returned the favor". He sneaked into Han Dabao's house late at night and peed into his pickled cabbage jars.

Hearing about this grudge, many police officers laughed, and Chen Shi said, "What’s Han Dabao's education and background like?"

"He sells pancakes and fruits outside the housing district and has never gone to school." The officer who had gone to investigate this lead answered.

"Pass. I don’t think he can think of such an ingenious method of murder. The root cause of the problem between them doesn’t need to be investigated either."

Then there was a man named Li Zhen, a colleague of Geng Zhangle who once publicly threatened to kill Geng Zhangle. Someone reported that he had stolen dangerous raw materials from the factory before.

Investigating the reason for the quarrel, it was because Geng Zhangle often bragged about his youthful love affairs in front of his colleagues. When describing a certain love affair, the more Li Zhen listened, the more things didn’t seem right to him. He went back and asked his wife. It turned out that the woman in the "story" was his wife.

Li Zhen's wife had been introduced by Geng Zhangle. It was only after 20 years that he found out that Geng Zhangle had messed around with his wife before they were introduced. That was sufficient to constitute the crime of hooliganism in the 1990s.

Li Zhen wanted to sue Geng Zhangle, but the criminal law had long been revised, so he held a grudge and had several quarrels with Geng Zhangle in the factory.

Old Zhang commented, "Who is this deceased person? An old cannon?”

Chen Shi asked the policeman who investigated, "Did Li Zhen have an alibi?"

"He said that he had dinner with his wife at home that day, and it still needs to be verified."

"I think it’s unlikely that he’s a suspect."

"Brother Chen, do we need to follow up with this person?"

"Not for now."

In addition, there were three other people who had conflicts with Geng Zhangle, but the man was already dead, and the people questioned all told their stories in ways that were favorable to themselves. They said that it was Geng Zhangle’s fault that the feuds started, that he had messed around with their wives, caused trouble at the workplace or gossiped behind their backs. 

Judging from the various testimonies, Geng Zhangle was a person who didn’t do his job properly and was always idle. He had a very bad temper and lacked shrewdness. He had offended many people. When they heard about the news of his death, many people clapped and cheered.

But Chen Shi felt that these people didn’t match the portrait of the suspect in his mind. The person who can come up with this kind of murder must be an educated, meticulous, and a secretive person. Hatred towards Geng Zhangle would be hidden in their heart and wouldn’t be proclaimed everywhere like these people did.

Therefore, Chen Shi felt that there was no suspect in the list provided by Geng Qing.

Lin Dongxue asked, "What about Geng Qing herself? Does she have a motive for murder?"

Chen Shi said, "We chatted a little that day. Although she and her father lived together, they had their own separate lives. Even when Geng Qing acquired a boyfriend, Geng Zhangle didn't ask about it. Although Geng Zhangle was an old bastard, his biological daughter was his only relative in the world and he treated her well... I observed her expression at the time and she didn't lie."

"How should we investigate this then?" Old Zhang asked.

"Confirm the alibis of these people. The surveillance footage in the park can also be used as a means of exclusion. Dongxue and I will go to the place he works at to have a look."

After the meeting was adjourned, the two went to the gear factory. This place mainly processed customized machine parts. There were loud noises coming out from several workshops in the factory. Chen Shi said that he wanted to know about Geng Zhangle's situation. A worker came out. He was the one who wasn’t on good terms with Geng Zhangle, Li Zhen.

Li Zhen said, "The police came to see me two days ago. I said some impulsive things back then. You wouldn't be suspecting me, right? I took some paint from the factory. I took it home for my personal use. It’s impossible to use that to murder someone."

Chen Shi said, "You are familiar with Geng Zhangle’s character?"

"I am very familiar. It’s estimated that 80% of those who knew him were looking forward to his death."

"So you don't need to think too much. We will visit those people who had feuds with him. It’s just an ordinary investigation."

Li Zhen relaxed. "Should I provide a few names?"

"Let's talk about this later. I asked for you in order to inquire about his situation at the factory. What was his monthly salary?"

"He had a salary of five thousand a month, which is the same level as us mechanics, and he’s absent from work every two or three days. He just drank and slept whenever he was at work!" At this point, Li Zhen displayed a look of contempt. "I don't know why Director Wei kept this scourge and gave him such a high salary."

"What's the salary of an ordinary guard?"

"Old Wang, the other guard, has a salary of less than two thousand."

"If that’s the case, the treatment he got was pretty good. Any rumored reason behind it?"

Li Zhen scratched his cheek. "I heard that Director Wei were friends with this old fellow when they were young. This is just what I heard."

"What is your director’s educational background?"

"Technical secondary school. But in that era, the technical secondary school’s level was already very valuable for making money."

"Did Geng Zhangle have a girlfriend?"

"I don’t know…"

"Okay, thanks!"

When the two were about to leave, Li Zhen caught up and said, "I'll tell you, so that you don’t have to hear about it from others and think I’m hiding something. I suspect that he has a relationship with my wife. Once, I saw him near my house. It’s shameful to talk about it, but he actually took my wife’s virginity before she married me. That old bastard even showed this off at the banquet table. Due to this, my wife and I have been quarreling ceaselessly."

"It’s no wonder this kind of person was hacked to death!" Chen Shi said.

"He was hacked to death? How many knife wounds were there? Was it brutal?" Li Zhen asked excitedly. The police hadn’t disclosed the details of the case yet. Judging from Li Zhen's expression, he should have been hearing about it for the first time.

Chen Shi smiled, "I'm just talking nonsense. He wasn’t hacked to death."

"Haha, I see. You’re testing me, right? You guys are very wily!" Li Zhen also laughed.

Saying goodbye to Li Zhen, Lin Dongxue said, "This factory director has been supporting this idler Geng Zhangle this whole time. I don't feel that it’s because of friendship. It’s as if Geng Zhangle held something over him."

Chen Shi nodded. "I share the same sentiments. We can go and meet him."

Director Wei was also a fifty-year-old middle-aged man, but as he was sitting in the office, wearing a suit and glasses, he looked as if he was only in his forties, giving people a very refined impression. He greeted the two of them warmly and asked his secretary to serve tea to them.

"It has spread in the factory that Geng Zhangle was killed. I was so surprised to hear that. You may also know that we were good brothers when we were young, and we often drank together. He wasn’t a bad person, but his temper was quite violent and he offended a lot of people like Li Zhen. You must find out the truth. I’ll ask everyone in the factory to assist the police in the investigation."

The director’s opening remarks were very well put, but there wasn’t much sadness in his expression.


1. Slang for an old ruffian who’s often in and out of jail. Can also mean a fiery personality.

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