Why would someone commit arson?”
“Because when they see the flames engulfing everything, they think they are in control. In the beginning, it’s controlling the fire, then he will want to control life, and start to murder people.”
Inside the burnt out factory, Bo Jinyan is standing with his hands at his back. He looks at the ashes all over the floor. Jian Yao stands behind him. She is examining every corner.
All five cases happened in different cities. They are closed cases. This is why they are keeping their investigation confidential.
A police officer standing behind them explains: “The first three cases happened in empty parks in the middle of the night or in residential houses. Except for the arsonist, there were no other victims. However, from the fourth case onwards, innocent people were killed. Especially this last case, three workers died in the blast.”
“So….” Bo Jinyan turns to look at him: “You only noticed the similarities after the fifth case.”
The officer nods.
Bo Jinyan has a sarcastic smile on his face: “I don’t buy the ‘five cases are similar’ lie. It’s obvious that the person who is behind all these cases changed his strategy after the third case. There are two reasons for this: 1. He is getting greedy. 2. He wants more attention. I think his next step is to cause a big explosion involving public transport.”
The officer is shocked. He asks: “But how does he control the arsonists?”
“That’s the answer we are looking for.” Bo Jinyan says slowly.
He takes off his gloves and turns to Jian Yao: “Let’s go.”
Jian Yao catches up behind him: “We’ve been to all the scenes. Any discoveries?”
“No. There’s nothing out of the ordinary. All the necessary forensic work had been done by the police.”
They step out of the factory. There are police cars everywhere.
Bo Jinyan pauses his steps and smiles at her: “Tell me, what should we doing next?”
Jian Yao thinks for a while: “Since there’s no clue at the scenes. I think we should look at the suicide notes.”
Bo Jinyan turns around and continues to walk forward. He says with a flat voice as he is walking: “Good, looks like our frequent and passionate sex is not affecting your work. You are as smart and efficient as usual. Good. Keep it up.”
Jian Yao: “……”
This guy is like a changed man when he is working. But…what a way of making sure their private life is not affecting their work.
The local police station.
Jian Yao and Bo Jinyan is sitting in their conference room. The five suicide notes are on the table, as well as copies of other suicide notes.
It didn't take Bo Jinyan very long to read through them. He leans back on to the chair.
Jian Yao carefully reads through every sentence. She gets more and more suspicious as she reads on.
“These suicide notes… something is wrong.” She looks at Bo Jinyan.
He gives a cold smile: ‘Yes, they are very well written.”
Jian Yao understands what he means. He doesn’t mean they are very ‘well written’ that one can easily tell it’s fake. It’s well written because they very believable!
Firstly, the handwriting. The strokes flowed smoothly. They were not forced at all. Some writers were getting emotional and their handwritings were a little harder to read. The style of writing was very colloquial. It’s filled with frustration and anger. Each letter expressed they were disappointed and hopeless with life, and so they decided to end it with arson. Every letter was reasonably lengthy. None of the letters deliberately avoided anything, and each one written in a different personal style.
It ticks all the boxes for evaluating if a suicide note is genuine or not. Based on what Bo Jinyan taught Jian Yao in the Wang Wan Wei case, it does seem like these suicide notes are not written under duress. This is probably why none of the police officers were suspicious earlier.
But the question remains. If there is someone else behind the arsons, how did he manage to get them to write suicide notes willingly, and to commit arson after that?
“Humm…look at your confused little face.” He says in his low voice. He is looking at her with a smile.
How can he always be so confident?
“I am thinking.” Jian Yao snaps back. “Tell me. What do you think?”
Bo Jinyan stands up. Today, he is wearing a dark grey suit. He walks to the white board in front of the conference room. He picks up a marker. With both hands at his back, he looks at her: “Give me Conan Doyle’s quote on finding answers. It’s old fashioned but it’s practical and useful.”
Jian Yao answers: “Eliminate the factors that are not possible, whatever is left behind, no matter how bizarre it seems, is the truth.”
Bo Jinyan: “So, what are you so puzzled about. Just analyse the situation one step at a time. Ok?”
Jian Yao: “….ok ok! Just tell me.” Even though they are lovers, he always disparages her, by either criticising she is not smart enough, or not proficient enough at her work…. But that’s ok. she will ignore his immaturity and arrogance.
Bo Jinyan starts slowly: “I repeat what I said previously, that there must be someone behind all these cases.”
The reason is simple: Even though all five arsonists have a motive, the probability of them choosing to commit their crime in the same style, and all within a few days is very low. And the sequence of cases clearly indicates the evolution of a psychopath.”
“Yes,” Jian Yao says, “The possibility of that is very very low indeed.”
“There is a second probability.” says Bo Jinyan: “When they were writing their suicide note, his mind controlled them to write in a style he wanted. The common methods including drugs, hypnosis, persuasion etc etc to create hallucination, and/or to influence their emotions. In that way, he is able to obtain the ‘genuine’ suicide notes.”
Jian Yao is shocked.
Mind control? These are things she has only read in a text book.
Perhaps it’s because he notices her hesitation, he says: “Are you confused again? Mind control is a real method that people uses. It’s not just a theory. But it’s not as dramatic as Hollywood portraits it to be.” Then his smile disappears from his face. He looks pensive.
Jian Yao asks: “What is it?”
Bo Jinyan gives a dry laugh: “I just remembered. Tommy tried it on me too…”
Tommy, serving his life sentence in a high security prison in California US.
Bo Jinyan has not shared with Jian Yao about his experience. The dark cellar, his wounds, and what he just mentioned, the mind control techniques.
“Then… what happened in the end?” She asks softly.
Bo Jinyan glances at her: “In the end? I sent him to prison. Have you lost your memory?”
Jian Yao smiles at the aloof look on his face.
Yes, Bo Jinyan always wins in the end.
“Ok, Ok, Ok. My mistake. Let’s get back to the case.”
Bo Jinyan continues: “I lean towards the theory that he used mind control. Being burnt to death is a very painful way to die. To find five determine men that wants to use this painful method to take revenge on society is not an easy task. For example…. if I give you a choice… Choose between death by burning yourself or taking poison, which one would you choose?”
Jian Yao: “…. poison.”
Jian Yao: “…. poison.”
Bo Jinyan nods: “That’s my point.”
“Next question. What do the five arsonists have in common?”
Jian Yao had some time to think over this before: “
1. Age. They are in between 35 to 45 years old.
2. Financial status. All of them struggle to make ends meet.
3. According to their family and friends. They are reserved and quiet. They don’t like to communicate. These people often build up resentment towards society. They tend to be more negative.
4. Prior criminal record. Whether it’s theft, or assault, all of them had been charged for minor offences before. But the charges are not serious so none of them have spent time in prison.”
When she finishes, she quietly looks at Bo Jinyan. He has an approving smile on his face.
“That’s correct.” And he adds slowly: “A good arsonist’s criminal profile.”
Jian Yao says: “You mean…”
Bo Jinyan nods: “He” knows how to profile his victims. This verifies my previous theory. That he is very good at mind control techniques.”
Jian Yao is quiet. An intelligent criminal that is also an expert on criminal psychology. He’s challenging the police by a series of brutal arson cases…
She asks softly: “Is “He” the Flower Cannibal No.2?”
Since Jiang Hao's death, and the absences of ‘messages’ after the two homicide cases, Jian Yao was almost certain “He” is dead.
But when Bo Jinyan mentioned about Tommy, a sense of foreboding filled her.
Bo Jinyan has long contemplated this possibility. He has a sarcastic smile on his face: “Well, if it is ‘Him’, that would be interesting.” Then he swipe her a glance: “Don’t have to be nervous. I’m here.”
Jian Yao thinks about it. Yes, he is no match for Bo Jinyan. She should not be worried about it.
I only arrest the most hideous criminals. He said before. And he is never wrong.
Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao are sitting in one of the most famous restaurant in town.
The setting is lovely. It’s located at the water’s edge. Bo Jinyan loosens his tie. He is relaxing on a sofa, with his arms wrapped around his woman.
Jian Yao is used to his investigation style by now. The initial stage of criminal analysis is done. It’s time for the police and forensic staff to take over. It’s their job to find the person behind the cases and work out how he connected with each of the arsonists.
Even though it’s their lunch break, Jian Yao is not as relaxed as Bo Jinyan. She is busy reading the information on the case.
Bo Jinyan suddenly says to her: “You did a great job with the arsonist profiling today. It’s definitely an improvement on the previous cases.”
Jian Yao looks up and gives him a sweet smile. It’s not easy to get a compliment from him.
Bo Jinyan smiles and continues: “Perhaps my previous judgment on you is not accurate enough.”
Jian Yao is curious: “What do you mean?”
Bo Jinyan answers slowly: “The British believes the right amount of sex will make people more healthy, enhances one’s ability to think, and have quicker reaction times. You just proved the theory right. Interesting.”
He is not trying to be cheeky. He speaks it as a matter of fact.
But Jian Yao finds it embarrassing to be chatting about these things. She blushes.
Then he says faintly: “Are you not going to thank me?”
“Oh… just stop it, will you!!”
News came on their way back to the police station.
The officer calls: “Professor Bo, we have made an important discovery.”