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Chapter 165: < Protect – Episode 164 – Ultra  >
‘I have to acknowledge it.’
Ahn Soo Ho had to acknowledge it.
There were many things they could do as people who monopolized the power of one country. The level of consciousness within the citizens was improved, and SNS received powerful enough responses to get ahead of the media, but the elaborate maneuvering of the upper cla.s.s was still taking place. And he wasn’t a human rights activist, a political revolutionist, or a law professional who demanded legal justice. On the contrary, he was also in the upper cla.s.s himself.
‘But there are still lines that shouldn’t be crossed.’
Ahn Soo Ho had no business in how they used all sorts of social skills to make money and establish power. After all, finding their enemies’ weaknesses and threatening them was a method that was used pretty often. However, the skilled people of Korea honestly thought of the citizens as a tool. This was a problem that was not about law or justice but about the limits that a person’s conscience shouldn’t cross.
Having no conscience was more serious than most thought.
There was no way the sins of politicians, businessmen, and leaders with no conscience at all would commit crimes of the average level. Those who shamelessly had no conscience had no right to talk about public interests. What Ahn Soo Ho found out after looking through Youngjin Group’s affiliates was their complicated governance.
‘A group that rules over other groups… Smart.’
The affiliate company before Youngjin Group was an unlisted corporation, but that didn’t mean there were no exchanges of stocks. He used his magic to hide and then went through their laptops and books to uncover their financial structure. On the outside, it seemed like they developed in many markets, but in reality, they had no department that was in charge of developing new products, and most jobs were simply given to subcontractors of subcontractors.
‘Did they commit money laundering for Korea National a.s.sociation by using life insurance and fire insurance?’
This sounded like insurance fraud, but as long as the insurance company didn’t object, it really didn’t matter.
‘They transported it…through smuggling.’
99% of Youngjin Group’s employees did legal work, but the remaining 1% was the problem. As someone said, 1% lies were hidden beneath 99% truths.
‘If a problem occurred, they just cut the tail off… like a subcontracting company.’
If Youngjin Group was listed, they wouldn’t have been in the top 30, but they would have at least been in the top 50 companies. A hunting dog that Korea National a.s.sociation was raising with some of their funds grew to become this big. It was highly likely that they formed the presidential board with connections from their own clique.
‘Did they band together with the police and prosecution as well?’
As common as police collusion was, love calls from the rich to the legal field was just as rampant. Since the rich obsessed over connections, they preferred sons-in-law who were judges and prosecutors. So they used scholars.h.i.+p foundations to catch the ones with potential early and then won them over to their side. After 10, 20, and 30 years, the rich had connections in practically every field.
‘The old man played a big part in why the gap between the rich and the poor didn’t get bigger.’
To be frank, Kim Dae San was different from other rich people. Rather than making unfair domestic deals to increase his wealth, he focused on strengthening his company influence in the entire world. The reason why the Daesan brand became acknowledged as the representing name of Korea wasn’t because of the Koreans but because of the foreigners instead.
‘A bunch of frogs stuck in a well.’
There were less than 10 Korean companies that stood a chance in the world’s market. Among those 10, Daesan Group was on top. The reason why Korea National a.s.sociation glared at Kim Dae San but didn’t mess with him was simple.
‘If Daesan goes down, we all go down.’
The reason why the rest of the rich survived in the Korean domestic market was all thanks to the Daesan Brand. After his espionage, Ahn Soo Ho made a visit to Kim Dae San. He went without notifying him beforehand, but Kim Dae San welcomed him with a smile.
“You sure do get around.”
“How are you still alive, old man?”
Once they greeted each other in their own ways, they sat under a gazebo on the side of the garden. The air within the garden was clean for Seoul air. Air Curtain? He didn’t know the exact term, but he heard that the garden’s airflow and purifying mechanism was better than most. He thought about installing it at his house as well.
“Was North Korea fun?”
“I thought you just stayed stuck in your house… I’m surprised you’re not dead yet, old man.”
“Lots of people are annoyed because of you, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
Most Koreans perceived North Korea’s repeated provocation as threats, but some of the investors saw it as an opportunity. Since they predicted that it wasn’t going to result in war from their past experience, it was an opportunity to make profits from the changes in the market. If it was like this for investors, how would it have been for major corporations? Every time North Korea threatened South Korea, they utilized the media to rake out more profits from specialized industries such as the defense industry.
War was also a business.
“What happened with Hong Kong?”
“It’s as it was reported.”
“Did Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin really bribe Kim Taek Sun?”
“I don’t know if it was a bribe, but he gave him money.”
North Korea did not only make Kim Taek Sun into a reactionary, but they turned him into a traitor as well. They pointed fingers at him for being a slave to a capitalist and calling him a bourgeois pig. If he was alive, he would have felt that this was unfair.
“The public peace that helped get rid of the criminal organizations in Hong Kong are becoming more popular. On the contrary, the Hong Kong police and government that received help from the mainland are being heavily criticized. On top of that, the anti-government protesters are receiving more hate for stealing away all of the police force. I feel like there are some false accusations though… What do you think?”
“It’s one of Beijing’s techniques of Hong Kong a.s.similation. Isn’t that something that our government did during the 70s and 80s as well?”
“I wouldn’t say that. They just caused safety anxiety and harmed the Hong Kong economy. It’s a big loss in the short run, but in the long run, it will help them become friendlier with China.”
Kim Dae San flashed him a peculiar gaze.
“And how does that benefit you?”
“So you helped China without receiving anything in return? You?”
“There’s no benefit that can be seen with the eye.”
In order for the Hong Kong film business that Alexander Chung, Shunmay and Henry were going to manage together to take off, they had to overcome many obstacles. In the same way, it was going to take Hosoo Entertainment China many days to show their face.
“In return, I gave a clear warning to someone who was getting in the way. They’re probably having quite the headache right now.”
Ahn Soo Ho didn’t answer.
“Rich people don’t go down easily.”
“Daewoo and Hyundae went down, didn’t they?”
“The company group might go down, but those in the management would be fine. Doesn’t that remind you of a certain white guy?”
“It’s similar. After all, a stock company’s power comes from the stocks it possesses. People demand the reformation of the rich, but they don’t know how that needs to happen. Stopping cross-shareholding isn’t going to solve the problem.”
If they got rid of a major corporation rashly, they were just bound to increase the number of the rich. Ahn Soo Ho tilted his head then clicked his tongue.
“Are you planning to divide the affiliates?”
“I have to leave the main force and get rid of the rest.”
“There will be a lot of backfires.”
Both the young and the old laughed bitterly together.
As soon as they dispersed the affiliates, the ties within the group were going to become vague. That was bound to lead to the worsening of their management. In other words, restructuring was going to be inevitable. The working cla.s.s was guaranteed to prepare for the big hit resulting from the dispersion by demanding job security, but in reality, there was no way of stopping unemployment from happening following the restructuring process.
“There’s no way of reforming or getting rid of the rich without shocking the market. The ones taking the hit wouldn’t want to acknowledge this… but no matter how skilled the economist is, miracles can’t happen. If they’re going to get hit anyway, it’s better to get it over with.”
Just like Ahn Soo Ho, Kim Dae San wasn’t capable of being a saint.
As the leader of the rich, he wanted to say this.
‘Isn’t this what you all wanted?’
Daesan Group was planning to push forward with the dispersion disguised as reformation and re-establish their image as pioneers. It was possible that they were trying to get ahead of the reformation of the rich to publicize themselves as righteous people.
“I agree that the rich need to change, but it’s not right to give a chance to all of them. Some of them deserve to die, especially the ones who were money-obsessed b.a.s.t.a.r.ds.”
Kim Dae San expressed his dissatisfaction in how exaggerated the negative responses of the public were.
“The demands of killing all the rich is pretty worrisome in my opinion.”
“So is that why you’re trying to shock the public?”
“They need to come face to face with the gap between reality and fantasy at least once.”
They needed to see the reality of what would happen if the rich were reformed or gotten rid of.
“There’s no such thing as change without sacrifice.”
Thinking that only they would be okay was arrogance.
“We all have some responsibility in this.”
s.h.i.+lla Group barely managed to overcome its crisis.
China’s shortage of funds isn’t only s.h.i.+lla Group’s problem!
Additional loans just managed to save s.h.i.+lla Group from their liquidity crisis!
Now that China’s ban against Korean entertainment has been lifted, is it finance’s turn? China troubles never end!
Jeon Kyung Ryun, “The government needs to step up in resolving foreign trade with China!” Criticism against the Blue House!
Just as Kim Dae San predicted, s.h.i.+lla Group didn’t go down.
However, they didn’t improve much either. That was because Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin attacked s.h.i.+lla Group with not only his hedge fund but with the influence of his funds as well. Not only did their Chinese multiplex business went down, but distribution businesses including films, dramas, variety shows, department stores, and home shopping went down as well.
‘He’s persistent. That dirty b.a.s.t.a.r.d.’
It appeared that Hw.a.n.g Chi Rin took out his anger of getting stabbed in the back by the North Korean Communist Party and then getting on the Chinese Communist Party’s bad side on s.h.i.+lla Group instead.
“Why are you so focused on the news?”
Ahn Soo Ho was on his way to the filming set with Jang Seol Hyun in a van. She instantly refused his offer to take a helicopter instead. Aside from wanting to maintain harmony with everyone, there was no proper place to land a helicopter there. If Ahn Soo Ho knew what Jang Seol Hyun was really thinking, he would have told her to stop worrying.
“How’s the filming going?”
“It’s hard as usual. On top of that, the spy scandal started a bunch of other rumors. It’s pretty burdensome.”
“Isn’t it good to be talked about among the people?”
“I just don’t want them to expect too much and then feel disappointed.”
The film she was filming was a Korean spy action blockbuster. There weren’t that many female actresses in their 20s in Chungmuro, but the ones who could do action were even rarer.
“But what’s she doing here?”
Ahn Soo Ho looked back at Alexa sleeping in the backseat and knitted his brows.
“She’s my acting coach.”
“Yup. For action.”
If Logan heard this, he would have protested about how bullsh*t that was. Logan and his underlings were known for their bodies while Alexa was known for her brains, but that didn’t mean Logan and his underlings had brains made of muscle. They were still able to do some simple hacking, and Alexa was also fairly skilled in tactics.
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho shook her awake, she screamed the F word. So he opened a bottle of water and poured it on her face.
“Get up, b.i.t.c.h.”
She chocked on the water that Ahn Soo Ho poured on her and then threw a punch at his face, but Ahn Soo Ho wasn’t one to accept that. He twisted her arm and put her in a headlock.
“Ugh! You smell! How much did you drink?”
“Agh! I surrender!”
She was hung over enough already, so being in a headlock was too much to handle. Ahn Soo Ho let her go. After chugging down some water, Alexa finally realized the situation.
“Are you filming today?”
“Oh, sorry. I drank too much last night.”
Alexa ignored Ahn Soo Ho and talked to Jang Seol Hyun, but Ahn Soo Ho didn’t stand for it.
“Why did you get so wasted?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“You got dumped, didn’t you?”
“Mind your own business!”
She called herself a lesbian, but most Koreans looked negatively upon h.o.m.os.e.xuality. Ahn Soo Ho wasn’t a psychiatrist, but he knew that Alexa’s behavior wasn’t normal.
‘She doesn’t really love women.’
The reason why she was so obsessed with women was because she despised men. She was once gang-raped when she was young, and that traumatized her for life. As a result, she called herself a h.o.m.os.e.xual.
The car stopped.
Alexa followed Jang Seol Hyun out of the car to get some fresh air when someone grabbed her by the wrist.
Ahn Soo Ho put a hangover drink in her hand.
She smiled and waved as if nothing happened before that. Just as she was before, she was still a troublemaker. He then saw Jang Seol Hyun talking to her road manager while waiting for him and Alexa stretching while joining in on the group.
He expanded his sensors.
‘I have a bad feeling.’
He monitored the atmosphere both inside and outside the set. There were some informants of competing film studios as well as entertainment reporters, paparazzi, and obsessed fans.
‘Security gets weaker in places with many eyes watching.’
Mrs. Park Ok Nam and Lee So Hye were safe, and his father and little brother weren’t threatened either. However, it was hard to 100% guarantee Jang Seol Hyun’s safety even if Logan and his underlings were close by.
“Go on without me. I’ll see you soon.”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho took out his phone and pretended to make a call, Jang Seol Hyun understood what was happening and left. Ahn Soo Ho then closed the van’s door and flung his phone down since he didn’t really have to make a call.
‘Where… Here it is.’
He disappeared with the light.
< Protect – Episode 164 – Ultra  > The end.