Chapter 77 - Doll Play #3
The thugs spread out to the orphanages all over Seoul according to Kang Han-seong’s order. Kang Han-seong yelled at those who tried to go empty-handed.
"If you just go there and ask for strange things, then they will be suspicious. Go buy a box of vitamin drinks and pretend you came for a volunteer activity. Go clean the toilets, play with the children, and gently squeeze out the information you want.”
"Hyung-nim’s plan is truly smart!”
Kang Han-seong didn’t become of the leaders of this gang just due to his fighting skills. He also had a surprisingly good head.
The gangsters bought vitamin drinks and headed over to the orphanages. Their excuse worked well because they were high school students.
"Are you here to do volunteer work?”
“Yes. I am a student from D High School.”
The staff member sent him a suspicious look, but nodded after seeing the student ID.
"What we need is...”
"I’m happy to do anything, I will even clean the toilets.”
“Eh? I see. Please do so.”
After a few moments.
“Student! You are more sincere than you look. Please eat these snacks and rest a little bit. I’ll take four hours of volunteer work.”
"Ah! Thank you. By the way, how long has Noona been here?”
Thus, the gangsters started collecting their information. Thanks to Kang Han-seong’s plan, it was surprisingly easy to gather information. The data piled up.
"Boss. This is an interim report.”
“Yes. Where should I look?”
Kang Han-seong laid out a map of Seoul that had been marked in advance before explaining each one.
“There are a total of 44 orphanages in Seoul. These 30 places are where the search is finished, and the rest will be finished soon.”
"So how many people are missing?”
“That... It is a bit strange. In most orphanages, the children run away just as they are about to leave that place. I arranged the dates and that was the common point. It is the same for each of them.”
Tae-hyuk touched his chin and thought of Kang Han-seong’s investigation.
There was one thing that caught his attention.
"Then why wasn’t it reported?”
"The reason is mostly similar: The children would leave soon anyway. The police didn’t really listen since they were just orphans. There are hundreds of children who go missing in one year.”
The police in South Korea were only concerned with the disappearance of children who have parents. But they were orphans living in a facility.
"Then let’s wait for the rest of the reports to come in before making a conclusion.”
“Yes, I understand.”
After three hours, all the information from the orphanages had been gathered. In the end, the conclusion was that children disappeared from 40 of the 44 orphanages. That was a huge number, when taken as a percentage.
"There was no one who went to the orphanages to investigate the missing people?”
"It was the same person. Perhaps they didn’t investigate properly.”
"I see. Then it is a total wipe out.”
The gangsters found out when the children had disappeared. Tae-hyuk nodded with a satisfied expression.
They did a better job than he expected. Tae-hyuk pulled out a bundle of 50,000 won banknotes and handed it to Kang Han-seong. It was a huge five million won.
"Think of it as a reward. You did a better job than I thought. However, don’t think about taking that money alone but distribute it. I’m looking forward to your work in the future.”
"T-Thank you. Boss!”
It might be an over-investment, but Tae-hyuk shouldn’t spare on the carrots when he was trying to attract rabbits. Now Kang Han-seong would try to accomplish whatever Tae-hyuk wanted with more effort.
Kang Han-seong got up from his seat with an impressed face and went outside. As Tae-hyuk stayed to look at the map alone, he found something strange.
“D-Don’t tell me...”
He took out a pen from his pocket and marked from the oldest one who went missing. There was an amazing result. It was a little off, but there was the shape of a circle. It was impossible to do without someone being involved.
“...They aren’t disappearances. It is a serial kidnapping of over 40 children. Obviously, one of those victims is Kim Soo-bin...”
Kim Soo-bin had been kidnapped relatively later, but if her severed arm had been found, the rest of the children... Tae-hyuk felt dizzy as he realized the ridiculous truth.
“Wake up Seo Tae-hyuk. There must be some clues.”
Tae-hyuk slapped his cheeks with both hands. There had to be something in advance to signify such a massive kidnapping spree. He had to find out what it was.
Tae-hyuk used Voice Modulation.
[Voice Modulation has been used.]
-You can imitate the voice of Kim Bum-soo.
Kim Bum-soo’s voice was the best for this type of thing.
Tae-hyuk called the orphanage that had the first missing person. Then the voice of a middle-aged woman was heard.
“Hello? I am a welfare officer from the Department of Health and Welfare in Gangseo-gu.”
-Ah, thank you for your hard work. Did something happen?
The voice of the woman receiving the call was strangely flirtatious. It seemed to be due to Kim Bum-soo’s voice, who was popular among middle aged women.
"Due to a recent incident, there is a child-welfare related rebate occurring. I wanted to contact you to see if anything unusual happened on October 7th.”
-At that time? Can you please wait a moment? I’ll find the records.
It worked really well. Kim Bum-soo acted as a king in historical dramas, as his profound voice gave a strange sense of trust.
-There were no visitors that day, but there was a health checkup at T Medical Centre on that day. Are you referring to this?
‘T Medical Centre...?’
“Yes, that’s right. Thank you for the answer.”
-Is it something that will cause the orphanage to be damaged?
"Of course not. Don't worry.”
Tae-hyuk called a different orphanage. This time he just asked if they visited T Medical Centre on that day.
After he finished calling all the orphanages, Tae-hyuk sighed and leaned back in his chair.
“...All of them went missing shortly after a checkup.”
There was no evidence but he could feel it. Tae-hyuk stood up.
"It seems like I need Big Mama’s help.”
Only one small piece remained to reach the truth that nobody had revealed yet.
Kang-suk and Hyun-ho were discussing this incident.
"Well I think the killer if a very meticulous person.”
Hyun-ho stared blankly at Kang-suk.
“Sunbae. Didn’t I say that three days ago?”
"I haven’t finished speaking yet. Listen. At any rate, we have been looking for clues or witnesses by mobilizing the media, and there has nothing so far. There was a plausible tip about a man wearing a mask that bought a saw, tarp, and plastic container. However, the payment was made in cash, and he moved in a position where he wasn’t caught on CCTV, so we can’t identify him.”
“Hrmm. Is the store far away from the crime scene?”
"Completely different cities.”
"That certainly sounds suspicious...”
There were no witnesses and no clues.
At that moment, Kang-suk stood up and beat on his chest.
"No matter how trivial the clue is, it is our job to squeeze out as much as possible. If the police gives up, then the case will remain forever unsolved. I want to solve this case.”
Joo Hyun-ho’s eyes shone.
"It has been a long time since the appearance of Senses Kang-suk.”
"There is something strange lingering in my mind. The other day, didn’t you tell me about an avant-garde performance using dolls? The artist changed the arms and legs.”
“Did I say that?”
"You certainly did. And there was one person who said something similar.”
“God of Crime.”
Joo Hyun-ho laughed bitterly at the unexpected name.
"He said that this was playing with dolls. Obviously, the police are calling it the Christmas Tree Mutilation murders."
The arms and legs of people were cut off and used to decorate a Christmas tree. If they switched the focus to dolls, then there was definitely someone who gave such a performance. The name of that person was...
“Yes. The doll artist you talked about the other day. I did some research on the Internet. Here.”
Kang-suk showed him the Internet screen on his phone. There were some photos of the famous person and his work.
The doll’s arms and legs were cut off and switched to create a bizarre atmosphere.
“How is it? Similar?”
“Whoa. Once again, I think that Sunbae’s senses are really great!”
"Of course, this isn’t evidence that he is the killer. It might simply be coincidence or a copycat. But isn’t it worth visiting once?”
"Do you want to go together now?”
"Well, it has been on my mind for a while.”
Interestingly enough, the two people had been investigating together since the hippo incident. Joo Hyun-ho worked in the office to grasp the psychology of the criminal with the collected evidence, while Detective Kang-suk was the opposite.
A detective whose career was in fieldwork. He judged everything through seeing it and touching it directly. Although it was a little inefficient, most of the time he had great results.
Thus, the two of them had opposite styles. Even so, they strangely worked well together.
"First of all, let’s just talk to him to get his opinion first. You can show that you suspect him of being the criminal.”
“Aish, Sunbae. I’ve been working in the field for seven years. I won’t do that.”
"Okay. Then shall we call a taxi?”
"We can go in my car.”
Having a car made things much easier than he thought. If he got married then he would buy a car...
At that moment, Ha-ran’s face popped up, causing Kang-suk to cough.
"Is it here?"
"It seems like it. This is the workshop of the doll artist, Yoo Ho-jin. By the way. It is quite unique.”
It was a building with a pastel roof and pink bricks. It felt like looking at a doll house. Kang-suk laughed as soon as he got out of the car and saw the name on the nameplate.
It was a really fitting name, and ‘the place for my beloved dolls’ was written in fine print. The artist seemed to be living a doll-like life here.
Kang-suk carefully knocked on the door.
“Who is it?”
A cracked and barren voice, like a broken vinyl record, was heard.
“Detective Cho Kang-suk from the Gangdong Police Station. Sorry, but are you Master Yoo Ho-jin?”
"That’s right. What is going on?”
He was a thin man in his early 40s. The door opened slightly and a cracked hand, that was like bark, protruded.
"There was a bizarre incident, and I heard that Master-nim was an expert in dolls, so I was hoping to get your opinion.”
Kang-suk pulled his police badge from his pocket and showed it. Yoo Ho-jin’s eyes peered at them from between the gap in the door.
“Did you bring a warrant?”
"I'm sorry, but not yet since I visited personally.”
“I’m busy because of work. Can you come back later?”
At those words, Yoo Ho-jin tried to close the door. However, Kang-suk was faster. He stuck his feet in the door and then literally forced it open.
"What are you doing? The police barging into my home...”
“It will only take a short time... heok!”
Kang-suk groaned as he entered the house. There was a ridiculous scene inside.
There were dozens of cut off arm and legs from dolls. There were glass beads rolling around on the work table. Looking closer, they were the eyeballs of the dolls. There was a large stainless steel saw on the ground among doll pieces.
Then Yoo Ho-jin shouted with an upset face.
"Y-You entered my workshop without permission! This is obviously a home invasion!”
Joo Hyun-ho picked up one of the doll arms and said,
“Sunbae. This is a doll.”
There was a plastic tub filled with what seemed to be doll heads. Kang-suk was confused. There was no evidence of any mutilated humans in the workshop. Was his feeling wrong?
Yoo Ho-jin’s face was red with anger,
"Master-nim. I’m sorry but could you take a look at these photos?”
"No, I mean get out of here right now... Um...?”
Yoo Ho-jin’s expression changed when Kang-suk showed him a photo of the Doll Play scene.
“What is this?”
"It is a murder scene that I am in charge of. Doesn’t it resemble your work?”
Yoo Ho-jin's mouth twitched,
"The atmosphere is certainly quite similar. It is like what I am pursuing, and is why you can’t help but be suspicious. After seeing my workshop, do you understand that I work with dolls instead of people? Then get out right now.”
Yoo Ho-jin’s voice had softened.
Looking at the tools in the workshop, it must’ve been doll artist Yoo Ho-jin who bought the tools at the store. So was it really unrelated to dolls?
At that moment, he heard a thumping sound from the ground. Kang-suk confirmed that Yoo Ho-jin’s expression instantly changed.
He remembered seeing such a look before. Criminals gave such responses after their hidden weapons were found.
Kang-suk grabbed Yoo Ho-jin’s arm and asked in a quiet voice.
"Master-nim. Do you have a basement here?”
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