The Whys of Old Age (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, Part 35)

Chan asked Detectives Kalākaua and Fernandez, the first to arrive, to process the scene.  The Honolulu Fire Department was hosing down the burning boat wreckage and the surrounding vessels.

Chan and Yamamoto returned to the car and sat there, thinking.

“Vic, Yu has plenty of men who can handle all of this themselves.  Why use guys from Korea?  Does that make sense?”

Yamamoto had to admit that it did not.  “Unless he just wants to keep his distance on this one.”

“Why?  He and his gang are committing crimes like twenty-four-seven.  He’s a pro at distancing himself even if he uses local talent.”

“I don’t know, David, so now you’re saying it’s not Yu?”

Chan had to think about how he was actually sounding.  If he sounded less pro Yu, was he sounding more pro Nina somehow?  “It’s not that, really, but I want to make sure we’re headed in the right direction here.  You know, going at it the best way we should.”

The two drove back to headquarters.

“Before we decide to apply the screws to Yu in a last push,” said Chan, “I want to check on two things.  Vic, see if you can get started on a list of reasons why all the people who were victimized by this car scheme are elderly.  Give me a few minutes.  I’m going to call the Harbor Master for more information on the Li Kee Tae.”

After talking to the Harbor Master, Chan needed still more information.  He decided to call the Wanhei Port Authority in Korea to see if they could give him more of the specifics he wanted.

Unfortunately, the information the Koreans gave him did nothing to boost his knowledge base or his anti-Yu spirits.  Although they had reported themselves to the Honolulu Harbor Master as being registered in Wanhei, the vessel was unknown to the officials in Korea.  They certainly knew the name Kang Yu, and they said it might be possible for the crime lord to be running unregistered vessels out of Wanhei, but it would be difficult, even for a man who wielded that much power and owned so many people in high government positions, to be running very many of them in such a covert manner.

This information did not hearten Chan on two counts.  First, it was absolutely possible that a single unregistered ship could be running out of Wanhei under the aegis of the Yu clan, and second, who knew but that the official he’d spoken to on the phone was just another Kang Yu toady.

Chan told Yamamoto about the Li Kee Tae operating as a rogue vessel, and of course gave him the bad news about the lack of any overt tie to the Yu family.

Yamamoto said, “On that front, not looking good for the home team, but I got some good ideas about the whole senior citizen angle.”

This news revitalized Chan to some extent.

“Old guys,” Yamamoto said, “pay higher insurance premiums.  So more commission money right up front without any kind of criminal activity involved.  Immoral is something else.  And old guys have a higher probability of dying.”

Puzzled by this, Chan interrupted.  “Well right off, that would limit income because the number of policy renewals would be limited for that reason, right?  If they die, then you can’t get any more out of them.”

“True,” said Yamamoto, but if they die, then there’s less of a chance they’d ever be able to testify against you if you get tagged for doing business in an inappropriate or worse illegal way.  Always got more seniors you can sell policies to.  One dies, get one more.”

“Huh.  That’s an interesting angle.”

“And,” continued Yamamoto, “old folks are easier to put off and to scam.  If one of um is curious about something, you just steamroll um, tell um it’s that way because it’s that way.  Period.  We haven’t even looked at what other policies these guys were selling to the victims.  Maybe they were just raking in the commissions, convincing them they needed every kind of insurance you can name.”

“Yeah, yeah, I can see that.”

“And – and this is the big one – if you need to intimidate somebody, David, who’s an easier target than an old person?  They start to wise up, you talk to um, give um little bit heat, a threatening attitude, flex some mussel.  Man, you can definitely keep some old people in line.  Especially if you find out they got no relatives, no kids, say, to help um.  Or no kids living close by.  Out-of-State would be great.”

“Vic, I can see it.  You’ve sold this old woman an expensive policy, fullest coverage possible, and that’s money right there, and then you send out a driver to maybe pull up to a driveway or a parking stall where she’s backing out, or come up behind her when she’s parallel parking.  Bam, she hits him.  That driver might even ask first if she wants to pay him cash for the damage.  That would be ideal, right?  Income mission accomplished, zero paperwork.  If she says no, she wants to go through insurance, then these weasel agents refer her to these weasel body shops, everybody splits the repair money, and . . .”

Chan sat back, “Wow, they’d have the money rolling in all kinds of ways.  Unbelievable.  But . . .”

Yamamoto waited.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterSunday, I hope you’re having a happy, safe weekend. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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