Chapter 19 - Isn’t He Crazy For Real?

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[… Professor. Hansol left.]

Hansol was listening to the voice coming from Professor Kim’s office.

There was no one in the hallway where the lab was, and it was silent, so even if he moved farther, he could faintly hear Professor Kim’s voice.

‘… as expected. Professor Kim is in contact with father. Father cannot be using a normal phone… With professor Kim’s help, he moved to a safe place. For example, a villa of Professor Kim who is rich. I think they might be there making new plans.’

The villa case, the two murders. The person responsible for the murder was handed to the prosecution and is on trial. However, Professor Im—the accomplice, the mastermind, the person that instigated it, was out.

Hansol thought that he should dig in a little more about Professor Kim and walked away without making the sound of footsteps.


Wah, that was insane. Yah, isn’t this crazy for real?” said Lee Jae-woo, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s first Violent Crimes Unit Leader. He was constantly stuck on the word crazy.

An arson incident occurred in Mijeong-dong, Seoul, and Yongjin-dong, a neighborhood next to Mijeong-dong. If it were one or two, one would think it was a mistake, but it wasn’t that. The tool used in the crime was presumed to be a disposable lighter, and it caused casualties. The number of arsons in Mijeong-dong and Yongjin-dong alone was 20 within 2 weeks.

“No, in this world of all CCTVs cameras being out of order, what can we do to investigate?”

“Team Leader, should we move this case to the special case handling team? Dr. Lim is there, so maybe we can get some clues?”

At those words, Lee Jae-woo hit the head of the detective who suggested with the papers in his hand.

“Brat. This is what we are investigating while keeping this secret. Do you want to hand this over to CIF? Do you want all our hard work to be passed to the public and CIF?”

“Ah! Then what do we do? We cannot even interrogate anyone. We have been stuck on this for 2 weeks now. Look at the 2nd and 3rd teams. They are doing everything they can to get more merit and we are stuck on one thing for this long! It is better to turn over the case to a special case unit!”

Yah!

Team Leader Lee Jae-woo was upset.

There was no way that CIF Leader Woo-jin didn’t hear of this. Team Leader Woo-jin had his mixed coffee in one hand and sneaked up behind them.

“It seems like your investigation isn’t going too well? Seeing how you mentioned the CIF.”

Team Leader Lee Jae-woo was not going to back down and answered calmly.

“Still, we have no plans to take that team's help.”

“Do the ones above us also feel the same… let’s be honest. Do you want to catch the culprit? You want to know why this bastard has been doing this for 2 weeks, arsons 20 times and caused 3 deaths and 8 are seriously injured. Am I wrong? The on-site forensic teams feed the data but you cannot know why the culprit is up to something like this. Whether you know it or not, you are unable to know the arsonist and his way. Ah, maybe you lack experience for it?”

Lee Jae-woo's expression turned sour at the words of Team Leader Woo-jin, who raised the right points. Team Leader Lee Jae-woo was also famous for solving things, but in front of Woo-jin, he looked relatively weak.

“Don’t do that, let’s work together nicely. How good would it be if the results you got were right and you closed the investigation? Just let go of the pride.”

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd violent crimes unit negatively viewed the CIF team. All the members of CIF knew that the reason Woo-jin was stepping in saying this was to show people the level of capability.

“Even if my throat is cut down with a knife, you should know that I do not want to cooperate with CIF or anything else. This is the price of team 1’s Team Leader speaking.”

Uh, you are such a stubborn one. Do you think CIF has no pride? Anyway, the data came from the on-site forensic team and the forensic investigation team. Join us, give the information, let’s bring down the list of suspects and it is great that 1st team can take up other cases too. Right? Isn’t there that siblings in one place should work?”

At that time, Inspector Jung Yu-mi came in and said, “Th… the Chief is calling. Both of you.”

At her words, both of them frowned as if they had been beaten badly.

Ah, why… is he calling.”

“That… it must be because the media is onto the case. Even now, the people in the incident location cannot have a peaceful time, and protests are happening there. There is a petition being put up… The media is generating more and more fake news every day….”

At Jung Yu-mi’s explanation, Team Leader Woo-jin scratched his head and went to the Chief’s office with Lee Jae-woo.

The two returned after 20 minutes.

Team Leader Lee Jae-woo’s expression worsened.

“Now now! Violent crimes team. It is overtime from today until we catch this firebug. And… a knife to the neck. In other words, well, we cannot help it. We will be working with the CIF until you catch the crazy bastard. Hand over all the materials, and the meeting will start soon. The meeting will be in 30 minutes.”

Team Leader Woo-jin informed the members of the violent crimes unit and his own team too.

Hansol was trying to find out more by accessing Professor Kim Hee-seob’s database for his own goal.

There were no criminal records, so there was no data on this man. Then, it had to be academic information. In the meantime, he searched for the Development of Psychopaths for a long time, and there were papers published.

While scrolling down, a title caught his eyes. He hadn’t been interested in Professor Kim Hee-seob, so he didn’t know what the papers he published were. However, what he discovered was a thesis aimed at him.

[The Discovery of Child Psychopaths, Can Education Make Them Live with Ordinary People?]

Hansol downloaded it. As he was about to open and read it, Team Leader Woo-jin called the CIF members to the conference room.

“Okay, my team members. Things have been quiet for a while, right? There has been no case which was assigned to the CIF after the brother’s cases. As I said, our team will be working with the violent crimes unit to catch this arsonist. I will hand over the material first.”

The amount of data organized by the on-the-spot forensic teams and the forensic investigation was enormous. Adding the list of the suspects that the violent crimes unit came up with, the documents were 3-centimeter thick.

“Wow, team leader. Do we need to see through all of this?”

Detective Kang Woo-cheol grumbled. Team Leader Woo-jin hit him on the head with papers.

“Brat, we can’t just sit on our asses to live, right? Even though it looks like this, everyone in Hwajong Police Station received a citation and came to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency with special promotions. Following the villa case and the recently done Woo brothers cases, now we need to show our potential again. Right, CIF?”

“… ah. But when do we get all this done?”

“Kang Woo-cheol, you brat, you seem rather lazy? You are only a detective in your first year….”

“Everyone focus on the papers.”

Hansol stopped the both of them from talking anymore, and at his words, the two quietly handed the documents.

Hansol carefully scanned through the documents. The first common clue was that the arson used an igniting material. Probably a match or a disposable lighter.

“… usually, psychiatry views this type of arson as a subclass of impulse control disorder. The suspect may have started committing this crime impulsively, not intentionally. And if he didn’t get caught, he must have gradually expanded his scope.”

Up to this point, it was consistent with the investigation and profiling of the 1st violent crimes unit.

“A normal person wouldn’t set fire would they? So think back. Be in his position. Why am I ready to commit arson? That will be the key to the case. What do you think was the start of all this?”

Everyone was immersed in Hansol’s thoughts.

As the troubled people were unable to come up with answers, members of the violent crimes unit came in. Hansol, who was standing, bowed to them.

“That, isn’t this too much to have a meeting in advance without us?”

Lee Jae-woo, the team leader, grumbled to that, and Hansol spoke rather softly.

“No. Since the CIF is participating lately in the investigation, we should at least have time to see through the data. And we were having such a time. I will ask the 1st violent crimes unit. Why do you think the arson was committed?”

“Well, he must be one crazy bastard.”

“Right, as the team leader said, he must be some crazy guy. If he wasn't that, then he wouldn’t make 20 fires resulting in hurting people in 2 weeks….”

Hansol cut off the answer and followed.

“The people in this room seem to be thinking from the standpoint that arson has nothing to do with them. Throwing out that the man was crazy to do this, but why did he go addicted to this? Why is he unable to restrain himself? I want you to think from the arsonist’s point of view.”

‘… if it were me, the start would be simple. It wouldn’t have meant anything at first. After that, I would have begun to enjoy it since I wasn’t caught after doing it. It’s like how serial killers get addicted to murder. A heart pounding for it, and it must have gotten stronger.’

Hansol was using his imagination under the premise that he was an arsonist. Like the first time he tore open the butterfly's wings, the beginning must be emotionless. And the arsonist’s attempts would have stopped if someone ‘educated’ him or stopped him.

But no one did that for him. Like a serial killer, the arsonist had his own secret, which he wanted to satisfy and he was turning addicted.

Serial killers start with small and fragile animals. Serial arsonists may have minor dissatisfaction with society and retaliate like this. If a serial killer feels pleasure from killing, a serial arsonist would have felt the pleasure without fear of fire.

“Now, have you all thought about it? Where could this have started?”

When Hansol asked, Team Leader Lee Jae-woo answered, “If it were me, I would have started out of curiosity. Why… when I was young maybe I got scolded by my parents for playing with fire. Something like that.”

“Then, what about the others?”

“As I was investigating the incident, I was able to find out that it didn’t happen in a certain place, but in places which couldn’t be guessed. The culprit is addicted to fires. If I were to think I would surely start one again.”

One by one, people began to talk. And their comments were like enumerating the characteristics of the serial arsonist.

Hansol summed up and said, “First and foremost, I'd want to express my gratitude to the members of the 1st violent crimes unit, who have been unable to return home and have been working on this case for the past two weeks. Because of your investigation, the CIF now has a clue and can ponder. However, we can guarantee you that the suspects on your list are not the ones we are searching for.”

Team Leader Lee Jae-woo asked why he said that, and Hansol explained.

“The 1st team brought people who would suit the MO of this but this suspect didn’t have a criminal record. Moreover, there must be no psychiatry records of treatment. It is likely that we don’t know how this culprit tits. All crimes occurred at dawn. Why did he decide to set the fire at dawn? When everyone was asleep? For perfect crime? No. At that time, the person was unable to control himself. Which means, we need to change the flow of investigation. For example, a person who buys a disposable lighter at a convenience store early in the morning. Let’s start over there.”

Hansol sat down after the briefing.

Team Leader Lee Jae-woo came ahead and informed them he would proceed, as Hansol said.

After the meeting was done, Inspector Jung Yu-mi approached Hansol and said, “Dr. Im. This is my additional opinion.”

“Yes, please tell me.”

“If I were the culprit… I would agree with you that the crimes were down at dawn due to the urges that couldn’t be controlled. But I would have to live during the day. If I need to live in the day and my urges wake at night… wouldn’t one like to drink often? To endure the tiredness of the night.”

“…! I will add that as well. Please pass this to the 1st team leader.”

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