In Huadu, the Major Crimes Unit quickly summarized the known situation within the bureau.
A person claiming to be a live-streaming host has kidnapped a teenager and broadcasted a death threat on a foreign video website. Moreover, according to the host, this is just the beginning, indicating that he may have abducted more than one person.
After understanding the information that has been obtained, Lu Junchi stood up and said, “Everyone will work overtime tonight. Except for special circumstances, no one is allowed to take leave.”
Several team members also knew that the situation suddenly arose, and they were all on high alert.
This matter is too urgent. In the face of such an emergency situation, everything else must be put aside.
Qiao Ze quickly pushed the whiteboard over and marked the time and date, preparing to list the clues on it.
Lu Junchi sorted out his thoughts and calmed himself down: “You guys should each contact the criminal investigation team. Keep timely communication on the progress of the case.”
“Qu Ming, you will be in charge of one team. First, verify the authenticity of the live stream and determine whether it is a prank. Confirm the identity of the child in the video, contact his parents and school, investigate the kidnapping situation, and track down the possible identity of the host.”
“Qiao Ze, you will be in charge of another team. Investigate the specific location of the live stream based on the video and various information. If you find a suspected location, conduct a rapid investigation. Due to the special circumstances tonight, the process will be simplified. Just report back to me, and all actions are green light. We will follow up with the search warrant later.”
“Zheng Bai, you will be in charge of the third team. Go to the company and unit where this Long Xiaochen is located. See if this person really has any issues.”
“Xia Mingxi, you will be in charge of the fourth team. Pay attention to online public opinion, gather clues from the internet, and communicate with the team at any time if there is any situation.”
Lu Junchi turned and asked, “Is there anything else that needs to be added or paid attention to, Professor Su?”
Su Hui shook her head. Now that such a thing has happened, she is filled with an unreal feeling. “You have arranged it very well.”
At this point, she coughed a few times and entered the live streaming room through the software, focusing on the screen inside.
The teenager was still bound, and only his slight breathing and occasional struggling showed that this was not a still image. The host did not appear in the video.
The barrage was constantly refreshing, and the speed was extremely fast.
People had some guesses, emotions, and some people were really analyzing and searching for this Long Xiaochen according to the host’s instructions…
Who is Long Xiaochen?
Most people, when they saw this suddenly popular murder live stream, thought of this question.
According to Milgram’s six degrees of separation theory, the distance between any two strangers will not exceed six people. As time passed, more and more clues emerged.
“Long Xiaochen, I know this person. He’s a contractor on a construction site.”
“I found his phone number, and we can see his WeChat.”
“His Weibo account has been found.”
“I’ve also heard of this person. Seems like he’s a contractor and quite wealthy.”
“Oh, I know, I know. Speaking of wrongdoing, when Luong Xiaochen was in his hometown, he had a troubled wife, but he also had a mistress in Huadu.”
“Wasn’t he with Ding Sheng Wan Jia International before?”
“The corrupt boss’s corrupt subordinate?”
“I’ve worked with Long Xiaochen before, and he’s really bad to his workers. Last year, he delayed the payment for the project for a long time.”
“Could it be that he’s involved in gambling?”
“Don’t make baseless claims if you don’t know the situation. Last year, the economic situation was tough, and there were more than just him who owed project payments. Besides, he paid them off immediately later.”
Discussions started heating up on the internet. Some were true, some were false, with people accusing and others refuting. The speed at which these discussions spread sometimes even surpassed the speed of the police’s investigation.
In the office of the Serious Crime Unit, everyone had a serious expression, and the phones kept ringing.
At 5:53 PM, some information finally started coming back from various sources.
Based on the school uniform the teenager was wearing, Qu Ming identified the bound teenager as a student at Wanhu No. 1 Middle School.
After contacting the school, it was confirmed that his name was Kong Tao, and he had just entered his senior year.
Currently, the school does not allow evening self-study. Students leave the school at 4 PM. Surveillance footage proves that Kong Tao left the school alone around 4:15 PM.
Qu Ming spoke with his homeroom teacher and parents, and there was nothing unusual about his behavior at school that day.
Kong Tao and his family lived in the unfinished building complex near Wanhu City. His parents worked outside the city, and his grandparents took care of him. It was only through a phone call that they learned about the incident involving their child.
Family, teachers, and classmates all claimed they didn’t know where he went.
They also had no idea when Kong Tao was kidnapped by this mysterious livestreamer and how he was brought to this unfinished building.
This lead ended here.
Zheng Bo called Long Xiaochen, who exclaimed his innocence and expressed confusion about why he was being called out in the livestream. He also claimed to have always followed the law.
The call lasted for three minutes, and Zheng Bo gathered more information than what was available online.
The Criminal Investigation Team made several consecutive phone calls, inquiring about Luong Xiaochen’s business partners, his workers, and his wife. However, they still obtained very little information. Even if there were some incidents like fights or suspected infidelity, they had already been widely discussed online.
Based on the records and interviews, they didn’t find any concrete evidence of his involvement in criminal activities.
As time was running out, Qiao Ze looked up and said, “The situation I’ve gathered doesn’t look promising. The live streaming website refuses to shut down the stream and hasn’t provided us with much information. We can only roughly locate the live streaming site near Wanhu City in Huadu. Based on the analysis of the footage, it could be in one of the abandoned buildings in that area. The height range is between the fifth and fifteenth floors.”
Lu Junchi hurriedly said, “Qiao Ze, take the team and go there.”
Qiao Ze stood up with a worried expression. “You can see the massive area of the abandoned buildings in Wanhu City on the map. It’s like a ghost town with no security, no residential areas, and no street management. How are we supposed to pinpoint the specific room?”
Lu Junchi replied, “Let the local police station go there first to search. I’m also requesting more manpower from Director Tan. We’ll assess the situation and adapt accordingly.”
“I’ll go with the Second Team,” Qiao Ze said hurriedly, packing up his things. Then he hesitated and said, “But it will take at least ten minutes to get from here to Wanhu City. What if we exceed the time limit…”
Qu Ming anxiously said, “Just go as fast as you can. If you keep chatting, the food will get cold.”
Qiao Ze quickly grabbed his backpack and rushed out.
Everyone was a bit flustered at first. The investigation was continuously obstructed. Lu Junchi turned around and saw Su Hui furrowing his brows. His vision was not good enough to read the flashing small text.
Lu Junchi asked Xia Mingxi, “Do we have any results from the investigation?”
Xia Mingxi had been watching the live stream’s updates and replied, “We have some, and we’re summarizing them.”
After observing for a while, Su Hui closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, saying, “These are not enough… If this streamer has logic, the crime he is threatening with a life must be significant, not just small offenses. It must be a serious crime that is either unknown or known to very few, worth exposing at the cost of a life.”
Time was pressing, and the case was complex. He had to rely on his instincts.
Who is this mysterious live streamer?
Why is he doing such things, and what is his motive?
How did he manage to do this…
During the attack, the livestream was silent. What was he doing at that time?
Was he also using another phone to monitor the situation?
Su Hui closed his eyes and seemed to see his unfinished puzzle, like a bullet passing through a glass, shattering it.
One of the characteristics of sudden cases is that they leave the police with little time to find more clues.
They could only compress the investigation time as much as possible and utilize all available resources.
Although Su Hui disliked speculations without evidence, he had to admit that in emergency situations, speculations were a shortcut to quickly approach the perpetrator.
Su Hui summarized what he knew. Based on the voice, the streamer appeared to be a man who shouldn’t be too old. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be familiar enough with the live streaming software and wouldn’t have the physical ability to move around the abandoned buildings without elevators.
By choosing this location for the crime, it indicated that he was very familiar with the area. He must have scouted it in advance and made all the necessary preparations.
He believed it was a safe enough place and was confident that the police wouldn’t find him within a short period.
His first target for the killings was a child, a student from Wanhu High School. Did he attend school here in the past, or did he have children or relatives studying here? Or did he pass by here every day and see those students?
His intention was to commit murder, in front of a large number of people. Based on his personality traits, he exhibited elements of a performer and antisocial behavior. From his words, one could sense extreme arrogance.
He must have had prior knowledge of Luong Xiaochen, knowing his crimes, and because these crimes were not publicly exposed, he developed suspicion towards society, the legal system, and the public.
However, instead of directly killing Luong Xiaochen, he chose to expose him in this manner.
Su Hui opened his eyes, looking serious and deep in thought.
He felt like he was playing a game of chess with an unseen killer.
Either the suspect found it easier to kill Kong Tao, choosing a simpler method of operation because he couldn’t kidnap and murder Luong Xiaochen, thus using Kong Tao as a substitute.
Or the suspect believed that this method of publicizing the crimes would attract greater social attention, serving as a better punishment for Luong Xiaochen.
Or perhaps the killer had other motives.
This was the first live stream. Would there be a second or third? Who would be the next victim? And who would be the target?
Time was ticking away, and one hour was still too short, especially for the Major Crimes Unit. When they received the alert, they only had twenty minutes left. Trying to uncover the truth within twenty minutes was something even a superhuman couldn’t accomplish.
As time passed by, 54 minutes, 55 minutes, 56 minutes, 57 minutes…
“Oh, wasn’t there an incident at the construction site where Luong Xiaochen was previously? Something about objects falling from heights and killing someone?”
“I heard about it too. Their construction site had poor safety, right?”
“Yeah, when it was almost completed, a man was killed by falling debris.”
“It wouldn’t have happened if it was just a small piece of rubble. It was due to the poor quality of the safety helmet, and Luong Xiaochen was responsible for procurement…”
“If the protective measures for the workers were insufficient, isn’t that equivalent to murder?”
“Lu, take a look at this…” Xia Mingxi quickly took a screenshot and called Lu Junchi over.
Lu Junchi hurriedly asked, “Zheng Bo, have someone check if there were any accidents at the construction site where Luong Xiaochen worked…”
Zheng Bo checked the information and replied, “There was an accident over two years ago. A worker was killed by falling debris.”
Lu Junchi asked, “Investigate if it’s possible that it’s a retaliation from a family member?”
Zheng Bo took a look and said, “There’s only one girl…”
At that moment, the time suddenly jumped to six o’clock, one hour had passed just like that.
In the autumn of Huadu, at six o’clock in the evening, the sky had already started to darken, turning into a deep blue. It was the time for many companies to finish work and for many families to have dinner.
The time limit for the live stream had ended, the time reached zero.
In the live stream room, the anchor, who had been silent for a long time, finally started speaking: “It’s very regrettable. Although some of you seem to have guessed some things, you have not uncovered the complete truth. I need to follow the rules of the game and execute the young man in front of me.”
Under the voice changer, his voice sounded like sandpaper rubbing against each other, sending shivers down one’s spine.
The anchor’s voice was cold and devoid of any normal human emotions.
For a moment, the barrage in the live stream room froze, and no one spoke. It seemed that everyone had forgotten how to type.
It was as if the film suddenly pressed the pause button.
During that previous period of time, they had been fully engaged in searching for this person named Long Xiaochen. Some people had even forgotten about the time limit.
The young man cried and struggled, he was a living, breathing life, but now he was sitting in a chair, completely unable to break free from those restraints.
Outside the screen, someone threw a paper ball with fire.
The burning paper ball flew in a parabolic arc and landed at the young man’s feet, the flames rapidly spreading.
Those people suddenly realized why the young man’s body was wet before, it was transparent oil.
Prometheus stole the fire, bringing light and civilization to humanity, but also bloodshed and slaughter.
In an instant, the young man in the screen turned into a huge flame, the flames instantly soaring more than two meters high, reaching the ceiling. The flames engulfed the young man’s entire body.
The intense heat burned his skin, consuming his life.
The young man struggled, letting out a desperate scream from his throat, his teeth grinding. He wanted to break free, to extinguish the flames. But he was firmly bound to the chair, the flames spreading from beneath his feet. He tried to stand up with the chair, but he ended up falling sideways onto the floor, still tied to the chair.
No matter what movement he made, he couldn’t evade that mass of flames.
Through the screen, people seemed to smell the intense burnt smell and feel the scorching heat. They couldn’t believe the torment the young man was enduring.
The live stream quickly went black, no more cruel images were played, but everyone knew, based on common sense, that the young man had no hope.
Whether it was the audience in the live stream or the serious crime investigation team, everyone was stunned.
Perhaps they had seen countless scenes like this in movies and TV shows, but they never expected such a scene to unfold before their eyes.
Cruel, terrifying, chilling. It seemed that in the face of such shocking events, all words fell short.
At the same time, they felt a deep sense of powerlessness. It was like running with all their might but not being able to cross the finish line.
At this point, those who had previously made jokes and sarcastic remarks fell silent.
This person is not joking; he is an extremely vicious murderer. He intends to kill someone tonight.
Inside the serious crime investigation team, there was silence. They were unable to stop this massacre.
If he wanted to target Long Xiaochen, he could have directly exposed his crimes.
Why did he kill an innocent child based on a possibly fabricated crime committed by a stranger?
What exactly does this anchor want to achieve?
Does such behavior make any sense?
Xia Mingxi looked at the darkened screen and took a while to react before tremblingly saying, “Madman, a complete madman…”
Just the thought of him sent chills down one’s spine.
Before the live stream came to an end, the anchor’s voice came amidst everyone’s astonishment, “All the sacrifices will be remembered. Thank you all for watching. This is the first program. In one hour, our live stream will continue, please do not leave.”
The office of the serious crime investigation team was incredibly quiet, with only Su Hui suddenly coughing, covering his mouth, coughing violently.
Everyone’s emotions sank.
However, Lu Junchi remained clear-minded. They couldn’t stop at this moment.
One hour, this was their breathing time and also the transition time for the killer.
Even if they couldn’t save this person, there were still more people waiting for them to rescue.
He spoke with a serious expression, “Everyone, continue as quickly as possible… Also, regarding Long Xiaochen’s case, even if we don’t have time to fully investigate today, we must investigate it thoroughly in the future…”
Time was pressing, and they didn’t even have time to mourn the dead because they still had to prevent more killings. Lu Junchi organized his thoughts, “He has one hour for the transition. The next murder is likely to happen within Wanhu City!”
The transition time was one hour. Assuming the killer had a car, the location of the next murder would be within an area reachable by car within an hour.
Lu Junchi stood up and said, “Zheng Bo, we are preparing to depart now, heading towards Wanhu City. Also, contact the Fifth Division and establish a temporary command center there.”
Su Hui also stood up, “I’ll go too.”
Lu Junchi hesitated a bit, “But…”
Su Hui calmly said, “I can’t be of much help here. Besides solving the case, saving lives is crucial.”
This statement made everyone instantly understand that they had fallen into a trap set by the killer.
The killer presented them with a puzzle, and if they couldn’t solve it, he would kill someone.
However, if they directly found the location of the anchor, captured him, and saved the victim, they might not need to solve that puzzle at all.
The act of solving the puzzle was forced upon them. Although solving it was important, it was even more important to identify the victims, find their locations, and discover who the killer was.
New psycho on the block! Are you ready for the new case?
Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.