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The reason why the people of the great, great magician, AnnAnne's world wasn't because they were afraid of her throwing b.a.l.l.s of fire. Those who could rule over a person's mind were called something along the lines of zombie masters. Even fellow magicians didn't like magicians that caused problems by controlling people, and they were commonly regarded as an enemy. If compared to the earth, they could be comparable to war criminals being chased by the international criminal court.
That was how long Ahn Soo Ho's magic lasted.
As soon as the 5 minutes was up, those with weak minds fainted, and those who were stronger plopped down and trembled. 5 minutes was more than enough. Among those who escaped the chaos, the ones holding weapons were the real enemies. Ahn Soo Ho looked down from the roof of the building.
He could have used his gun, but the enemies and civilians were all mixed about.
He sensed that there were no CCTV cameras.
'See you, friends.'
The long chant that sounded as if it came from a white-bearded man from a movie wasn't anything spectacular. All it did was make perfectly okay people collapse. There was something that people misunderstood. Magic was a secretive skill, and the fewer people knew about it, the better. In AnnAnne's world, not a single person exclaimed, "I'm a magician!"
Wouldn't magic be best when it comes to a.s.sa.s.sinations? But the way he destroyed the harbor in Indonesia was different. Once Ahn Soo Ho put down dozens of people, he took out his phone.
"Take care of it."
That was it.
Not even 10 minutes afterward, a row of big trucks arrived. And the person who got out was Oh Chang Ik with a disgusted look on his face. That was because among the dead bodies were some people he knew. They weren't so close that they were friends, but they did business together.
Oh Chang Ik got down from the roof and found Ahn Soo Ho sitting on a rock.
"The Hong Kong police will be here in 30 minutes."
"Clean up as much as you can. I'll take care of the rest."
Oh Chang Ik gestured for his men to separate the bodies from the survivors. Despite the fact that there was a gunfight, the Hong Kong police took their sweet time. Was it because this place was a slum far away from the capital? That might have had something to do with it, too. However, the minister of administration was pulling a trick as well.
Like Oh Chang Ik said, the Hong Kong police arrived. The only difference was that they arrived an hour afterward. On top of that, the person in charge wasn't wearing a police uniform, but a suit instead. He walked toward Ahn Soo Ho. For most gunfights, the special forces were dispatched, but not this time.
"Are you from public safety?"
"The fifth bureau."
"Home inspection department?"
He took out a pack of cigarettes and offered one to Ahn Soo Ho, but he shook his head.
His deep sigh was paired with cigarette smoke.
"My New Year's resolution was to quit smoking… but I failed again today."
Ahn Soo Ho apologized. There was no subject, but he had a feeling who was responsible for the failure.
"My name is w.a.n.g Cho Shan, Mr. Ahn."
"Was it the premier's orders?"
"It didn't even make it up that far. The lower government decided to deal with it."
Seeing how they were being so active about a strategy put forward to tame Hong Kong, it must have been Guangdong which was located nearby. Not even the national premier knew everything that happened in China. Even under dictatorship, the cases of countryside regions were divided and given to regional groups.
"I need more of an explanation."
"They're increasing the number of illegal immigrants and foreign criminals to worsen Hong Kong's public safety while making negotiations with the criminal organizations to make protestors such as companies, educated people, and students into criminal targets."
He revealed information that could be considered as China's shame without any hesitation. If he was a reporter, he would have been happy to get the scoop, but he had no interest in exposing the truth.
"What about the Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin terrorist attack?"
"Oh, that was an order from the central district. They're trying to get rid of the organ banks in Hong Kong while they're at it. I guess… the fact that you acted first should be considered a relief. Thank you for giving us an excuse."
"There are other places?"
"It's not just North Korea, but Vietnam and the Philippines who will also do anything that can make them money. As for mainland… since we regulate it, they don't lay their hands on the organs. The triad is quite cooperative, but the others have to taste bitterness to get the message."
Today's headlines in China's news was set to be about the organ banks active in Hong Kong. On top of that, they were going to make it look like violent crimes and add experts' input that it had a negative influence on the Hong Kong economy. It was highly likely that the Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin terrorist attack was going to be framed as an illegal act committed by a capitalist.
"But I have something to receive from him."
"If it's an investment, we can resolve it for you."
"You don't understand. It's not about money. It's more about trust."
w.a.n.g Cho Shan put out his cigarette and showed an intolerable look on his face.
"Are you trying to collect the leaders?"
Ahn Soo Ho smirked. The word he used directly translated into red bats.
"Isn't it because of them that you're trying to get Hong Kong to surrender?"
w.a.n.g Cho Shan groaned deeply.
There were over 7 million Korean residents abroad. Then how many Chinese residents were there abroad? This was not an exact number, but it was around 50 million. Among them were Chinese people with ambiguous ident.i.ties as well. However, what was for certain was that they had Chinese blood and that they were strongly influenced by Sinocentrism.
That was where one question arose.
'Are overseas Chinese completely devoted to China?'
There was no way. It was actually them who criticized the Chinese Communist Party the most. There was a difference between sticking with other Chinese people and actually liking China. In particular, the Chinese who succeed in society attacked the corrupt government even more strongly.
At this point, they were making an effort to develop the country with labor productivity, but as long as they had no certainty that they could protect lives and funds, the outflow of talents and capital was only going to speed up. The reason why they didn't want to come back home in glory was clear.
"Even if the overseas Chinese's capital comes back to China, will it not go back through Hong Kong anyway?"
"So you know."
Most of the Chinese capital that left through Hong Kong's financial corporations were overseas Chinese's capital that was laundered into the Chinese currency. They used China's fixed currency to see a profit, and once they made profits from the rising land costs in China's real estate market, they took the money and went back abroad.
There probably wasn't going to be a big hit any time soon, but overheating of the real estate market wasn't good for the Chinese economy's future. Even though all land belonged to the Chinese Communist Party, the rise in rent only increased the gap between the rich and the poor. The government officials that knew what was going on predicted that if they just left it alone, something bad was bound to happen.
"But they couldn't force it, right?"
"The d.a.m.ned foreigner law grabbed them by their ankles."
The foreigner investment restriction law that was enforced to protect the domestic industries was what caused a problem. The Chinese Communist Party was confident that Chinese people would gather in their superior land, but for the Chinese foreigners who had a taste of capitalist compet.i.tion, China was no more than food that they could feed off of. Actually, they never even considered themselves as Chinese in the first place.
"We think of that as the white people's hoax. That's what's coming between the overseas Chinese and us."
"That's a foolish judgment."
"The truth is not what's important. What's important is how we use that belief."
"What you guys are aiming for is none of my business."
That was the limit of a nationalistic country's patriotism.
"Enough with the introduction. Get to the point now, Mr. w.a.n.g."
In response, w.a.n.g Cho Shan looked around and then whistled. The reason why the Chinese Communist Party left Goreo Village alone was because of their relations with North Korea as well as their intention of making Hong Kong's public safety a mess, but it was also because they knew that if there was a battle against armed combatants, it would result to many casualties. Ahn Soo Ho ended it all too quickly though. There were no CCTV cameras, so he couldn't check, but some of the photos really made it look like magic was involved.
'Nice and clean.'
In a mix of civilians and hostages, only the combatants were the one's that got killed. This could not be done with good shooting skills alone. Among the Chinese intelligence agency, there were even jokes about how it was done by a magical serpent.
"We ask that you help us deal with Hong Kong."
"For what price?"
"We received orders to give you whatever you ask for."
"Then leave Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin alone."
w.a.n.g Cho Shan immediately accepted.
"One more thing."
"What is it?"
Ahn Soo Ho flicked his finger.
"Partic.i.p.ate in the sanctions against North Korea."
Negotiations regarding North Korea between America and China was a battle of pride.
"Not right away. Just let your superiors know."
"Yes, Sir. But are you interested in North Korea?"
He got into the SUV Oh Chang Ik was driving and lowered the window.
"If you shoot my way next time… I'll blow Pyeongyang out of the waters."
The triad was the most commonly known criminal organization in China, but they weren't a unified organization. They were like a franchise that operated around certain regions. Hong Kong's public safety was at the top level. This wasn't because of the Chinese government's effort but because of the Hong Kong police's constant efforts as well as ICAC.
The police and corruption mentioned in the old Hong Kong Noir were only possible during the times when tigers smoked cigarettes. That was because, after the 21st century, organized crime in Hong Kong was decreasing, and there was no room for money laundering or financial crimes to take place. The reason why Hong Kong dreamt of creating an international city of finance was because of how strong the Chinese government's influence was getting.
Hong Kong people were proud of ICAC.
Director General Raymond Woo of ICAC slammed the desk.
"Say that again! What? They want us to terminate our investigative plans?"
"Did the minister of administration really say that?"
"Yes, Sir. He said every word."
He saw it coming but seeing it actually happen filled him with rage. Since the minister of administration was friendly with China, it was obvious that he was going to put forward policies that were public interests first, and that was exactly what happened.
'In just two years! He went back to the old days in just two years!'
He spent 25 years fighting the thugs, corrupted government workers, and greedy businessmen to complete his duties. As a result, Hong Kong had to be remembered as the most upright place. However, things started to go wrong when the new minister of administration took office.
'I can't believe the thugs are roaming about again! So much corruption!'
The triad and other thugs that disappeared from Hong Kong were starting to resurface. As a result, the ICAC had a strong will to regulate it. The only answer was to sweep up all the leaches and get rid of them from the very beginning. However, their superiors put a restraint on it. They thought that a recommendation from the investigative authorities soon after the revolution would only cause anxiety in the people.
The excuse was somewhat understandable.
ICAC was highly trusted but that didn't mean they weren't crazy at times. They once made a victim commit suicide with too much pressure, and they even convicted innocent people with shabby indictment and evidence. In any case, they couldn't refuse ICAC's orders. The problem was that as they procrastinated, the trash piled up too big for them to handle.
'Do we have to have another war against crime?'
Dealing with crime with such strong will was bound to cause harm on both sides.
Raymond Woo answered his interphone.
"It's the minister of administration."
He breathed deeply before picking up the phone.
"Director-General Woo! Push forward with the criminal organization countermeasure! Dispatch the special forces and agents to the center of the city! If needed, restrict the traffic and notify the other countries!"
'Huh?' In response to the minister of administration's rant, Raymond Woo was speechless. What he was talking about were the criminal organization countermeasures they had been consistently proposing. Did Sherayhuh got shot in his head or something? However, he couldn't stay silent for long.
"Are you serious?"
"Does it sound like I'm joking? Get on it!"
"But the mainland…"
"This is an order from above!"
Raymond Woo was initially trailing off, but after he heard what the minister of administration added, his facial expression loosened up. This was at a bigger scale than what Sherayhuh could handle on his own.
Did those Chinese Communist Party b.a.s.t.a.r.ds finally come to their senses?
Raymond Woo was about to hang up when he stopped in response to Sherayhuh's urgent voice.
"A special agent will be dispatched. All you have to do is support him, Director General."
"A special agent?"
'What kind of nonsense is that?'
"Let's see… It's probably begun already."
Ahn Soo Ho opened his eyes in response to Oh Chang Ik's words. Being a zombie master was definitely not for him. It took a lot of mental energy. Oh Chang Ik rolled his eyes like a crazy dog. That was because he was surrounded by dozens of police officers.
"Are you scared?"
"I don't want to be a dog that was killed after the hunt ends."
Oh Chang Ik was very traumatized about that because of the power battle that took place in North Korea after the pa.s.sing of Kim Il Sung.
"You earned a lot of money. Now live like a decent human being."
"But there are lots of hungry mouths that are depending on me."
He was an evil person nicknamed the southeast crazy dog, but he took good care of his own people.
"As long as you fulfill the exchange, you won't have any trouble feeding yourself from now on."
He was agreeing with words, but he probably wasn't able to obey right away. Ahn Soo Ho didn't believe he would follow along from the start either. As soon as they got out of the car, w.a.n.g Cho Shan was waiting. He glared at Oh Chang Ik and then smiled at Ahn Soo Ho.
"You're going around with a weird guy by your side."
"He's of use to me."
"May I ask how?"
"He knows me well."
He pa.s.sed w.a.n.g Cho Shan's confused face and headed toward the slums that were seized by the police. There was a simple reason why he kept Blackie and Crazy Dog alive. It was because they both knew Ahn Soo Ho well. Both of them at least knew how to keep their dignity, and those who didn't know him would evetually know him soon enough.
'Is it because of AnnAnne's memories?'
He didn't have much love for humans, but the act of selling people was lower than trash. It was despicable.
Lower than trash was a harmful beast.
Someone lost their hand and screamed.
Bang, bang, bang-
Every time he pulled the trigger, another b.a.s.t.a.r.d would scream.
'Keep barking, wild animals.'
< protect="" –="" episode="" 160="" –="" hong="" kong="" noir="" =""> The end.