Chapter 111: New Suspects

Wang Shilun suddenly remembered something and said, "Ah yes, she didn’t actually pick up the phone initially. She only picked up my call after several attempts on my part. During the phone call, she said, 'Dear, I’m on the way over’ before there was a knock on the door."

Chen Shi replied, "Thank you!"

It was getting late into the day. After Chen Shi and Wang Shilun bid their goodbyes, Chen Shi took the bus back with Peng Sijue.

Peng Sijue was still struggling with a question on his mind. "Why don't you think he is lying? Don’t you think it’s a bit suspicious?"

"What would you think if someone claimed to have seen a UFO?"

"Firstly, I would need to find out if that person was mentally sound and then I’d have to find out if they were lying or not."

"Yes, in the face of unsolvable things, most people implement sensible and logical countermeasures like doubting whether the other parties have told the truth or not. This is a form of common self-deception. The reason why I think Wang Shilun hasn’t lied is because firstly, he has no motive to do so. He and Kong Tingting only had a one-night stand at max. Secondly, he was in no condition to do so. At the time, he was helping us to catch Kong Tingting and stayed with us ever since he got off from work."

"But we have come to the conclusion that the murderer committed the crime at three in the afternoon. If the murderer was Wang Shilun, everything makes sense... He made the police give him his own alibi."

Chen Shi became silent. This was a very bold idea, but it seemed to make sense.

"What is your opinion on that?" Peng Sijue urged.

"I’ll hold off on my opinion for now. We should investigate and find out.”

Peng Sijue showed a gratified smile when Chen Shi surprisingly accepted his opinion without fighting back. He continued, "And..."

"And what?"

"I don't think there are UFOs in the world."

Back at the bureau, everyone was eating hot pot in the conference room, drinking cans of beer and talking about the interesting things they encountered while investigating the case. It was a rare moment of leisure for the police officers. 

Upon seeing Chen Shi and Peng Sijue come in, Lin Dongxue pulled up two seats for them. "You guys are pretty lucky. Everyone bought all the vegetables and sauces for tonight."

Xu Xiaodong said, "If I knew I could have gotten free dinner, I would have come late too.”

Chen Shi picked up a fish ball[1] with his chopsticks and tasted it. He asked, "Have you guys found any new leads?"

"The victim has a close female friend. According to this friend, about half a month ago, she found the victim crying her eyes out. It turns out that the victim went to a bar to get drunk because she got dumped, but was then taken home by a stranger. When she woke up the next day, the man was already gone. There was a funeral shroud left on the bed as well as a note that read 'Congratulations on getting AIDS'!"

"So it turns out she was one of the victims of someone retaliating against society as well?”

"And the man was long gone."

Xu Xiaodong said, "We also learned that the victim was an online anchor for a while. It was on an interactive chat with netizens all across the Internet, but as it wasn’t popular. She didn’t earn any money from it."

Chen Shi said, "It seems that the requirement thresholds of being anchors and writers are very low. Maybe I should do a live-stream of my case-investigating next time?"

"Do you dare to do that?!" Lin Qiupu said while eating a piece of lettuce. He looked up and sighed, then turned his attention back to the hot pot. "Lao Zhang, give me the sesame sauce."

Chen Shi asked Lin Qiupu, "What about the businessman?"

"We let him go. There wasn’t sufficient evidence to keep him here. He didn’t admit to the murder.” 

"I don't think he’s the murderer. Old Peng and I found an eye-witness... Damn, I haven't eaten any meat yet and you guys are finishing it! Let’s discuss after we’ve finished eating!"

Lin Qiupu was focused on the witness, so he asked Chen Shi about it. After listening, Lin Qiupu rubbed his chin and pondered. "The case happened in the afternoon? In that case, the businessman's alibi is unreliable!"

Xu Xiaodong was still on the subject of being an anchor. "...This girl graduated five or six years ago and basically didn’t work seriously. Instead, she just kept getting boyfriends. The only thing that she’s done is become an online chat’s anchor? What kind of life is that?”

Chen Shi responded, "There are a lot of people like this in the world who evade work and obligations. They just think about having a nice and relaxed life… This girl is good-looking, so she has the means to have this kind of lifestyle.”

"It’s exactly because of this lifestyle that she met with such a tragedy.” Lin Dongxue reasoned with a sad expression. 

"I don't understand. Marx said that labor is the essence of mankind. Why are there so many people in society who don't want to work? Not just old people, but NEETs, and so on." Xu Xiaodong said.

"I feel that laziness is the essence of mankind!" Peng Sijue suddenly chimed-in. "It is precisely because people don’t want to work that they try to enslave others. The progressive class system was then created, which formed the foundation of civilization.”

"What a brilliant notion!" Chen Shi applauded.

Peng Sijue didn’t really like hot pot, so he wiped his mouth and excused himself. "I’ll go back to the lab to look at the results now."

In less than ten minutes, Peng Sijue came back with a report, "Chen Shi, who is the owner of the hair sample you gave me?"

"What happened?"

"The test shows that the sample and the hair found on the victim belong to the same person.”

Everyone there was shocked by this new piece of information on a new suspect that they could focus on. 

The next afternoon, Chen Shi, Lin Dongxue and Xu Xiaodong went to find Han Le again to understand the situation a bit better. Han Le appeared to be impatient when responding. "What are you looking for? Are you guys suspecting me?"

Chen Shi asked, "Have you contacted Kong Tingting these last couple of days?”

"We haven't contacted each other for a few months."

"Oh really? That’s odd. We found your hair on her corpse."

Han Le looked briefly stunned and then regained his composure again. "Cut the crap, hair doesn’t contain suitable material strands for DNA testing[2], so it can’t be used as conclusive evidence.”

"It seems that you have done some research on criminal investigation."

"I love to read novels in this field. I also watch movies on this as well.”

"Then, you should know that the substances ingested by the human body will be reflected on the hair of a person. You have been taking antidepressant drugs for two months, correct?”

Han Le looked surprised and Lin Dongxue seized their advantage. "We can apply for a search warrant and detain you back at the station. Or, you can explain the situation right here, right now.”

Han Le bit his lips. "I... I saw her once. Her computer was broken and I went to help her fix it. Then, I heard her crying. When I asked her what had happened, she told me she was sick. I didn't think that was related to the case at the time. I asked her if she needed any medical expenses paid but she didn’t say anything… I just hugged and comforted her.”

Chen Shi was observing his expressions and noticed that the corners of his mouth were oddly lifted. He asked, "What day was that?"

"December 23rd."

"That was a quick response. However, the victim had a date on the 24th and changed her clothes. The hair you left on the 23rd wouldn’t transfer over to another dress on the 24th.”

Han Le said, "Okay, I admit that I lied. I was worried that you guys were going to suspect me, so I switched the date I met her.”

"It’s not good to lie to the police."

"I met her on the 24th." Han Le admitted.

"What time?"

"In the morning!"

Chen Shi noted the unnatural flutter of his eyes. He gestured to Lin Dongxue, indicating that she should bring this person back for interrogating.

Lin Dongxue said, "Mr. Han, I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me back to the station."

1. Not necessarily made of fish. A lot of places just use flour to make them, but some places ball up ground-up fish so that it becomes a malleable paste. There’s a ridiculous amount of variations with different fish. In Chinese, it’s often called fish ball even when referring to a bunch that can include squid meat, crab meat, lamb, beef, etc. The link shows a few types. Sometimes there’s a different type of meat or sauce (e.g. cheese) within the fish balls.  

2. Despite what they show in the movies, this is legit, 

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