Chen Shi added, "Of course, it could also be the turtledove occupying the magpie's nest with the current person behind the scenes stealing someone else’s business, but in essence, it was also a major change in the entire industry chain."
Lin Dongxue smiled, "You can think so fast. This clue just appeared, but you actually made so many deductions."
"I’m impatient. It would be nice if the speed of the investigation is as fast as my thinking."
"Haha, then those criminals won’t be able to survive."
Chen Shi looked at his watch. It was almost 8:00PM. "Are you hungry? Let's go and eat!"
Early the next morning, the police went to Wangchenggang to continue investigating yesterday's case. Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue continued their investigation separately, tracking down the whereabouts of the rice collectors.
The two went to the neighboring village again, looking for the uncle from last time. When they arrived at the entrance of the village, they looked at the wide expanse of harvested fields. Lin Dongxue said, "I think I know how the fool from Xu Village died three years ago. He probably found out the secret of the fake rice, cut off the leaves and smoked it himself, or that young man sold it to him."
"No, no, if the rice farmers sell the drugs themselves, given the gang's caution, they will definitely get rid of them."
"Okay, I didn't think about that point."
"But your thinking is correct. Those rice farmers who have disappeared or died accidentally have touched on this secret. When we find the rice collectors and uncover the true face of this gang, I believe that all the mysteries will be solved."
They found the uncle’s house after asking around. The villagers didn’t have the habit of locking their doors during the day. The door of the uncle’s house was open and the lights weren’t turned on. The two walked into the house and saw the uncle sitting on the windowsill, talking and laughing on the phone, holding a cigar-like object in his hand.
Seeing the police coming in, his cigar fell to the ground. He hurriedly jumped down from the windowsill and stamped it out with his foot before kicking it under the cabinet.
"What are you smoking?!" Lin Dongxue said alertly.
"This is the smell of a cigar. I can tell." Chen Shi noticed a plastic Coke bottle on the table, picked it up and shook it, revealing a knowing smile. "You’re living the good life."
"What are you doing here? I've told you everything I know!" The uncle's "stroke" started up again, and he sneaked glances at Lin Dongxue while moving his head to and fro.
"But we haven't finished asking what we want to know. How many years have you been growing this kind of rice?"
"Aiya, why are you police finding trouble with rice crops? I’m a farmer who diligently farms at home. Isn’t this normal?"
"Answer the question!"
"Uh, ten years."
"So you can be regarded as a 'founding member'."
"I don’t know what you're talking about…"
"Do you know this person?" Chen Shi retrieved a photo from his mobile phone and showed it to the uncle. The uncle scratched his head, "I don’t think I know him."
The photo which was taken yesterday showed Old Jia Number Four. Chen Shi said, "What do you mean by 'I don’t think I know him.'? Don't you all meet at the end of each year? Where did you all have your banquet last year? Wasn’t it XX town? Don’t the rice collectors invite all of you to eat crabs and drink Moutai every year?"
The uncle stared at him. He didn't think that these things would come out of the police’s mouth, but he remained tight-lipped. "I don't know what you’re talking about..."
"Then let's talk elsewhere?"
"You mean outside?"
"The public security bureau."
The uncle panicked. "Oh, what is this? I just grow rice. Who did I provoke..." Glancing at Lin Dongxue, "Aren't you causing trouble out of the blue?"
"Stop pretending. Tell me honestly: Where are the rice collectors right now?!"
The uncle kept scratching his neck and his eyebrows kept twitching. Chen Shi continued to exert pressure on him and deliberately said to Lin Dongxue, "Did you bring the handcuffs?"
"I did." Lin Dongxue pulled them out from behind her waist.
Seeing the handcuffs, the uncle became a mess. "Sima Village, Sima Village. Go there and look for someone with the nickname ‘Idiot’... I only know this clue. Really! If I’m lying to you guys, then I’m a puppy."
"Who is he?"
"He’s also a rice farmer, but he interacts freely with the rice collectors. They seem to be related... Every year at the banquet, he sits at the head of the table."
"Do you know any of the other rice farmers? Tell us everything you know."
The uncle showed a very reluctant expression and as if trying to deceive himself as well as others, said, "It's just planting rice. Who are we offending?" Then he listed all the names he knew, and Chen Shi noted them down in Lin Dongxue's notebook one by one.
When leaving, Chen Shi said, "Stop planting this rice. I hope we won't meet again."
After leaving the house, Chen Shi laughed. Lin Dongxue asked him why he was laughing. He said, " This uncle must have made a lot of money, but he dares not reveal his wealth. Look, he’s still wearing patched pants, but he smokes a cigar at home and drinks red wine from a Coke bottle. Those two are a perfect match!"
"Haha, so it turned out to be red wine... By the way, they cultivate drugs. In the future when this case goes to court, they can’t escape punishment even if they didn't know about it, right?"
"What do you think?!"
"Haii, ignorance is terrible."
"No, this isn’t ignorance. Anyone who has a bit of reason understands that rice that can earn tens of thousands of yuan a year is definitely not a proper business, but they still grow it year after year. Just as Old Jia Number Four said, after enjoying the profits once, you can’t turn back. Last time we looked for this uncle, he actually lied to us because he has a vested interest. In order to maintain his own income, he instinctively protected the people in the upper reaches of the industry chain. To put it bluntly, it is all driven by interests."
"There’s something fishy behind any bargain."
"Yes, there is no such thing as a free lunch in the world. In the end, you have to pay for it yourself."
On the name list the uncle gave them, there were three rice growers in this village and Xu Village, only one in Wangchenggang, and two to three on average in other villages. There were five rice growers in Sima Village, which had the largest number. It could be seen that Sima Village may be the hub of activity for the rice collectors.
In the afternoon, the two rushed to Sima Village, but they couldn’t find the person. Chen Shi asked the people from the village committee. They said, "There are two rice collectors who drive trucks to the village to collect rice every year. They would collect from ‘Idiot’ and a few others in the first phase, and then from the rest in the second phase."
Chen Shi has heard this three times, but this time he had a new notion. He asked, "Have the other rice been collected this year?"
"Yes. They finished collecting from our village half a month ago."
Turning around, Chen Shi said excitedly, "As rice collectors, collecting only one kind of rice will be suspicious. Therefore, they also collect other types of rice. They couldn’t possibly process or sell tens of tons of ordinary rice by themselves. I think they will definitely deal with it by reselling."
"Resell it at a low price?" Lin Dongxue said, "The only place that can take so much rice is probably the Grain Bureau."
"Yes, we’ll call the Grain Bureau. As a long-term partner, the Grain Bureau may have information about these two people."
Chen Shi took out his cell phone. While he called them, Lin Dongxue squatted on the side of the road and pulled at the wild foxtail millet. Chen Shi hung up the phone after talking for over ten minutes and said excitedly, "Luxing Village. They live in Luxing Village. Let’s go!"
The two could hardly wait, but when they were almost there, Lin Dongxue was a little worried. "Are we going with just the two of us? Will it be unsafe? Why don’t I ask my brother to send more people?"
"Mm, let's investigate first. It's not too late to call someone if the information is true..."
"What’s that smell? Something seems to be burnt."
The two looked out of the car windows. There was a large area of scorched ashes in the field, which looked spectacular. Several peasant women bent over and sifted through something on the surface with woven basket sieves.
When they got out of the car, Lin Dongxue stepped forward and asked what had happened. A peasant woman smiled, "I don't know who piled and burnt so much rice here, but the lower layer hasn’t been burned, so we’re bringing some back to feed the chickens. "
1. Follow a lead and track something down.
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