The police conducted a thorough search of Lie Guoxiao’s mansion. During the search, Lie Guoxiao sat leisurely on the sofa, smoking cigars and drinking red wine. Half an hour later, the captain of the third team asked him, “Where did you hide the paintings?"
"The paintings you extorted from those pawn shop owners."
Lie Guoxiao raised his eyebrows. "I don't understand what you mean by 'extorted'. I acquired all those paintings by bidding on them in auctions. Is this part of the forcible search too?"
Thus, Lie Guoxiao summoned one of his subordinates and gave him a few instructions. The subordinate said, "Those paintings are kept by Master Lie in another place. Please come with me!"
"Is it far?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"We’ll need to drive there."
Lin Qiupu arranged for several people to go and investigate it together, including Lin Dongxue. Chen Shi also went with her as a matter of course.
Leaving the mansion, Lin Dongxue said disgustedly, "That old man was so annoying. He kept trying to chat me up just now. You can tell that he isn’t a good person at a glance."
"Just ignore him."
Lie Guoxiao's subordinate drove in front and several police cars followed behind. They arrived at a very ordinary housing district. His subordinate led the police to an apartment building and opened a door.
Their greatest impression when they entered was of the cold. The air-conditioning in the room had been set at an extremely low temperature, and the light was also very dim, probably to protect the ancient paintings.
The living room was empty. Those ancient paintings hadn’t been hung on the wall. The subordinate asked everyone to put on shoe covers, gloves, and preferably caps as well. Then they arrived at a bedroom with very tall shelves inside. The shelves were full of rows of rolled-up scrolls.
"These are Master Lie's collections. Please be careful when checking them."
Lin Dongxue picked one up and unfolded it. Although she didn’t know the painter, it had Emperor Qianlong’s seal on it. She figured it must be very valuable.
"We want to make an inventory of them and we need you to act as a temporary consultant. After all, we don't understand ancient paintings." Lin Dongxue asked.
"Yes, I know these paintings quite well and I usually take care of them for Master Lie."
"Where did these paintings come from?"
"Of course, they were acquired through proper channels. A respectable person like Master Lie couldn’t possibly have seized other people’s beloved paintings." The subordinate said in a dull, flat voice.
Lin Dongxue sneered. The police then began to take pictures of these paintings one by one and make a written inventory of them. The room was too cold, so everyone took turns to rest in the corridor.
When it was Chen Shi's turn to come out, he suddenly saw a black-clothed rider leaning on a motorcycle on the opposite side of the road downstairs, looking in this direction with a telescope.
Was the old man anxious about them? He had even sent someone to tail them and keep watch.
"Wow, it's cold!" Lin Dongxue hurried out and stomped her feet. The hair on her temples were covered with frost. "It feels colder than our team’s morgue."
"Are we here just to verify Lie Guoxiao's property today?" Chen Shi asked.
"Yes, this is the third team’s idea. These paintings all have histories. If you investigate them one by one, you will be able to find evidence of Lie Guoxiao's crimes."
"But will those pawn shop owners dare to sue him?"
"It’s true that they’re very afraid of him, but seeing the police in action, I believe that when he falls, everyone will surely pile on. Weren't many underworld bosses overthrown like this? They act like a tyrant for a second and then in the next second, everyone is screaming to take them down."
Chen Shi smiled.
Lin Dongxue tutted, "Why are you putting on a bored expression?"
"I’m not. Do I look bored?"
"I know this is definitely not as interesting as a murder case, but it’s also the duty of the police!"
"I know! I will definitely work with you."
Everyone was busy until late at night before returning to the bureau. After the joint operation was over, the third team would continue to trace the sources of Lie Guoxiao's assets, while Lin Qiupu and the others would continue to investigate Boss Shen’s case.
When Lin Dongxue arrived at work the next morning, she found Chen Shi sitting in her chair and staring out of the window in a daze. She said, "You came so early. Have you had breakfast?"
Chen Shi spun around in the chair. "I pondered over this case all over again. The murderer's motive for the murder may be that they had killed Boss Shen to silence him after their negotiation with him broke down. They then framed Liu Feng perfectly for the crime. This means that before the murderer entered the pawn shop, they had already made two sets of preparations: To either reach a successful negotiation or to kill him!"
"What were they negotiating?"
"From a general perspective, it must be a matter of personal interest. I think the interests involved in this matter are greater than that of an ancient painting, because the murderer had even casually left the astronomically-priced ancient painting at Liu Feng's house to make the framing of him even more perfect. In actuality, they didn’t have to take this step..." Chen Shi lowered his head. "However, I can’t figure out what could be more important than the painting in Boss Shen’s social circle. They must be very afraid of leaking the secrets in this negotiation, so if Boss Shen didn’t agree, he would have had to die. Only the dead won’t leak secrets...
"Then why didn't the employee get killed?"
"You’ve hit upon the main point. From the murderer's standpoint, there are three reasons why the employee doesn't have to die. The first is that he doesn't know about the facts of the situation, which means that his witnessing the incident was purely coincidental. The second is that the murderer knew he could be bribed. This shows that the murderer and the employee knew each other. The third is that his testimony could mislead the police investigation."
"Based on the surveillance footage, the murderer is on that street!"
Chen Shi nodded. "The dude made a slip of the tongue yesterday and told us that the murderers were two people. I think one of them is in charge of planning and the other is in charge of physical force. To plot the whole thing together, the relationship between these two people must be very close. They could be brothers, lovers, husband and wife..."
Chen Shi had already thought of two suspects, but he couldn’t say anything, because only Song Lang was familiar with their past, and he had to be "faithful" to the role of Chen Shi.
"Why don't we go to Shangma Street today and ask about the situation shop to shop?" Chen Shi pretended to suggest lightly.
When they arrived at Shangma Street, Chen Shi looked up at the broken security camera. Lin Dongxue said, “The security camera here has been repaired. There were a total of five pawn shops in the blind spot of the broken security camera on the night of the incident. Which one should we investigate first?”
Chen Shi casually pointed. "Let's start with this one!"
The owner of the pawn shop didn't know anything about the situation that day. He said that Shangma Street was dark at night and he hadn’t noticed anyone passing by.
"Do you know which pawn shop owner Boss Shen was closest to?" Chen Shi asked.
The boss laughed. "The pawn shop bosses on this street are competitors in the same industry. No one is close to one another. After all, those in the same industry are enemies! Boss Shen and I are casual acquaintances at best. We just offered greetings whenever we saw each other."
"Then did you know the "Mountain Residence XX Picture" in Boss Shen's hands was being targeted by Lie Guoxiao?"
Upon hearing Lie Guoxiao’s name, the boss showed a fearful expression. "I don’t dare to make careless remarks about this. I don't want to get into trouble. You should ask elsewhere!"
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