First You Die, Chapter 16: Special Agent Randel
First You Die, Chapter Sixteen: Special Agent Rick Randel
By Fran Visakay
Sonia’s right hand was free and she pushed the thick leather belt through its loop and pulled on the strap that was holding her left wrist to the bed railing. She untied her hand and bent way over to reach her left ankle. She had both hands loose and she undid that strap also. The dead man was lying heavily on her right leg. She grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him to the side, reaching for the last bond.
‘I’m sorry for you my friend, but I have to get out of here. Life is truly a passing moment and I wish you a better existence in the next one.’ Sonia climbed over the bed railing and ran to a closet door. It was empty. ‘Where the hell are my clothes? I can’t just run out of here in a hospital gown.’ She stared at the man on the bed and thought of taking his shirt and slacks but they were soiled.
She felt a pang of remorse. ‘Sorry, but what happens is, when all of that blood rushes to your member, it comes directly out of your brain.’ She had seen so many instances of this that she knew that it was true.
Sonia went to the door and slowly turned the handle. She pushed the door open just a crack. She could see down a hallway and towards the end, where you could turn left or right was a man sitting on a chair smoking a cigarette, one leg crossed over his knee. There was a rifle of some kind resting against the wall, next to the man. Sonia quietly closed the door, leaning back against it. She was stuck. She had to think. She couldn’t
simply just walk past the man, could she?
The guard sitting in the chair was resting with his eyes closed. His orders were to let only the manager and the doctor enter this part of the building. It was a long and boring shift. He heard a door open at the end of the hallway and did not look up knowing it would be Doctor Wan coming back from checking on the girl. He didn’t hear footsteps, only the door opening and closing again. He turned his head and saw a barefooted, naked girl softly padding in his direction. He was startled to see the apparition with long legs and full firm breasts. She appeared to be in a trance, staring off into the distance at some far point, not seeing him at all.
The man was puzzled. Could this be the girl that was securely strapped to the bed or was he dreaming?
‘Go back to your room. Where’s Wan?’ The man stood up from his chair, the cigarette falling from his hand onto the floor. The girl did not hear him. She kept walking slowly, her eyes unfocused.
Good God Buddha the man thought. As she approached, he held out his hand. ‘Stop, go to your room.’
The girl started to sway, her legs crumpling beneath her as she fell in his direction. He grabbed her under the arms and she sagged, pulling him off balance. Her hands grasped his shirt as she slipped one foot just past his. She suddenly came alive, thrusting him over her leg, his head slamming against the wall as he was thrown onto the floor. The girl leapt to the rifle, picking it up by the barrel as the man scrambled to his feet. She swung the weapon at him as he held his hands in front, grabbing for it.
He would easily take away the gun, and then force this lunatic back to her room. At the last second the girl crouched, still swinging the rifle and he heard a loud crack as his kneecap shattered, filling his entire body with pain.
He crumpled to the floor as the girl swung again. He held his arms up to protect his head and he pushed himself towards her with his good leg. He had to get the gun back. But the girl had not swung the weapon at his head. The gun connected with his shattered knee again. The pain was blinding. He instinctively reached to protect his knee and saw a blur of movement as the rifle crashed into his head.
Sonia ran back to her room and grabbed the green hospital gown from the floor. She slipped it over her head, running down the hallway, stopping for a second to pick up the automatic rifle. She pulled back the slide just a bit checking on the chamber. It was empty. She pulled the slide as far back as it would go and as she released it, a long brass cartridge was pushed into the barrel. She turned it in her hands searching for a safety. There wasn’t one that she could see. All right, she had better get a move on. She ran along the hallway. The floor was marble-tiled and the walls were lined with a fabric covering. If she was in a hospital, it was an expensive one. She looked out a window as she ran past and saw an asphalt parking lot bordering a twelve-foot high concrete wall lined with large trucks.
Johnny Wou was relaxing in his office, admiring the Sukhothai Buddha statues encased in a teakwood and glass case against the wall, thinking that any museum director would give his left arm for such a collection. On the opposite wall stood a stone relief of Khmer Aspara dancing girls, heavenly bare breasted nymphs, cut from a wall just outside of Angkor and transported from the Cambodian border to Bangkok in Thai military trucks.
He felt much better after last night’s entertainment, splashing in the bubble bath with two of the massage girls. Both were exceptionally endowed and more than willing to please such a generous patron. And then there was the climax with the girl in his bedroom. Wou felt emptied of all stress and very calm after a night like that.
Wou owned the gambling parlor, the nightclub and the hotel they were in. He didn’t have to pay for the girls but he always gave them gold bracelets as a present. Most girls pawned gold from a patron right away. Not so with a gift from Johnny Wou, it was a badge of prestige, something to be flaunted in front of the other girls. ‘Khun Wou give to me,’ they would say, smiling and holding their wrist up, the gold glinting in the light.
A tiny white light blinked on the house phone sitting on his desk. He picked up the phone and listened. ‘Sir, Khun Rawy is here.’
‘Send him in.’ No one would dare to enter his office without permission. In a minute the door opened and Rawy walked across the oriental silk rug covering the floor and stood a few feet in front of the desk, bowed and waied.
Wou merely nodded his head to his subordinate, ‘Is the girl safe?’
‘Yes Khun Wou. I saw her strapped securely to the bed myself and I have posted an armed guard at the door.’
‘I want you to go back to New York right away and find the doctor. Have you spoken to Pet? After he’s killed the Farang dog shit and his whore, he can help you track down the doctor.’
‘So sorry Khun Wou.’ Rawy bowed lower than before. ‘Pet has disappeared. He has not checked into his hotel and I have not heard from him.’
Wou stood up and shook his fist, glaring at Rawy. ‘What kind of buffalos do I have working for me? One man in New York killed by a girl, another one shot in the arm by his own gun and now one is lost. If this is the best you can do, I can make other arrangements. What about that fat Chinese pig? Have you gained control of his distribution network?’
Rawy bowed, ‘Yes Khun Wou. I called him this morning. Everything has been agreed to. We can start shipping the drugs and supplies directly to New York right away.’
Wou scowled at a blinking light on another desk phone. It was an outside line and was almost never used. People knew better than to call him directly. He picked up the phone, this had better be important he thought. As he listened, his face grew redder and redder.
‘Fucking Buddha,’ Wou screamed, wrenching the phone from its base, throwing it directly at Neung Rawy. The phone smashing against his chest and bouncing to the floor. The man responsible for the murders of over a hundred men stood still, fearing to say a single word.
‘The clinic on Petchaburi has been attacked by a Thai and a Farang, just like in America. They have taken the doctor. What’s going on? Who’s doing this to us? You call yourself an enforcer? My captain? My envoy in America? You are a piece of pig shit.’ Wou’s face was contorted in anger. ‘Get over there and find out what happened. No wait! Get every man on this. Tell them to look for a red four-door Honda. You take the Beast with you and guard the girl with your life.’
‘Yes Khun Wou.’ Rawy bowed, waied and hurried out the door. With his life was an apt description Rawy thought as he and Sat hurried to his car.
Jip turned the Honda on Asoke, racing towards Rama Road. ‘When we get to the gate at Wou’s house, tell the guards that we are expected and that the Farang is a specialist from the United States and that I am your assistant.’
Rick leaned forward, keeping the gun in the doctor’s side. ‘Hey, did you see all those boxes with writing on them, piled up in one of the rooms back at the clinic?’
‘No, I didn’t.’
‘I think I saw the same boxes in the clinic in New York.’
‘Really? What’s in the boxes doctor?’
‘Just medicinal herbs.’
Jip jammed on the brakes, the car slid to the side of the highway as cars rushed past them. Jip jumped out of his seat and opened the door and pulled the doctor to his feet pushing him against the fender as more cars rushed by.
Jip grabbed his pistol and held on to the doctor’s wrist. The headlights of passing cars reflected off the gun. No one stopped or even slowed down.
‘For a doctor, you’re really a stupid man.’ Jip pressed the muzzle of the automatic into the doctor’s outstretched hand. ‘I can just as easily say that I am the doctor since you clearly can’t operate with out your right hand.’
‘Stop. Stop, please. I can explain everything.’ The doctor voice was shaky with fear.
Jip pushed him into the car. ‘You know what will happen if you make me stop this car again, don’t you?’
‘Yes, yes.’ the doctor held his head in his hands. ‘The boxes contain ma huang. As a medical doctor it’s perfectly legal for me to have this substance in my possession. It’s used to treat asthma patients. It helps to open the bronchial tubes to the lungs. The Chinese have been using it for two-thousand years.’
‘Ha!’ Jip exclaimed as he drove. ‘You’re talking about ephedrine. It’s used to make ya-bah, amphetamines.’
‘Yes, it’s grown in China and Laos, and is purchased very cheaply there. Khun Wou is expanding his operations all over the world.
‘So it’s legal to own and ship this, if you have the proper licensing,’ Rick added. ‘And when it reaches the destination safely, you transform it into drugs. Wou is expanding his operation to America.’
‘I believe so,’ said the doctor. ‘I think that Khun Wou is planning to make ya-bah here in Bangkok and in America instead of having it made in Laos or Myanmar.
Jip turned in his seat. ‘How about the stainless steel gas cylinders? We know it’s anhydrous ammonia.’
‘It’s not a gas. It’s stored as a liquid under pressure. If the temperature gets too high it expands and the pressure may become extreme, so we have to keep it cool.’
‘What are you planning to blow up?’
‘The cylinders are just being stored in the clinic. I don’t know what they will be used for.’
Rick grabbed the doctor by the shirt and jerked him so close that their noses touched. ‘Don’t bullshit us. We know that the terrorist are using Thailand as a base for their operations. Immigration officials captured Hambali here.’
‘Who is that?’
‘In one minute I’m going to ask Jip to stop the car and continue where he left off only this time we’ll put bullets through both of your hands. You saw what happened to your pal back there. You know damn well Hambali is a terrorist leader of Jemaah Islamiah and the mastermind of the Bali bombing. So that proves these people are operating here in Thailand.’
‘I’m a doctor. We save lives not destroy them.’
‘You don’t destroy lives? What about all the organ transplants you’re doing? Killing innocent people for their organs. What do you call that?’
‘Where did you get that idea?’
‘Cut the innocent act. Your fellow doctor in the American clinic told us the whole story about how you kidnap people and kill them for their organs.’
‘That’s preposterous. May be that’s what he did once, but we’re finished with that and have been for quite some time. Besides I’m a research scientist not a surgeon. I specialize in regenerative medicine. I wouldn’t know how to transplant an organ from one person to another. I would think that the person you spoke to was just a bit disingenuous. When one tells a lie one should stick as close to the truth as possible and that’s what he did.’
‘You had better come up with the real truth then.’ Rick slammed the doctor across the car. There was a thunk as the doctor’s head bounced off the door window.
‘I have no desire to loose my hands or my life. I’ll tell you the whole story. You know that stem cell transplants have been around for almost twenty years. It has long been known that stem cells are produced in the bone marrow and can be transferred from one person to another to produce white blood cells in the other person’s body.’
‘We know all about this. If you have a point you better get to it.’
‘Did you know that in only the last three years great strides have been made in the science of embryonic stem cells?’
‘Keep going.’ Rick spoke slowly and distinctly, impatience clearly showing in his voice. Many of Rick’s friends knew this was a warning sign, a harbinger of a violent eruption in his behavior.
‘Embryonic stem cells have the unique ability to adapt to their host’s environment, unlike ordinary stem cells. Thus they can replace damaged heart tissue, or lung cells or skin or muscle tissue. We’re on the threshold of almost eternal life. Soon we will be able to regenerate any organ that becomes feeble with age.’
‘So, can’t you do this by taking adult stem cells from a person’s bone marrow?’
‘Adult stem cells are already specialized. For example, skin cells can only replace skin cells. Adults do not have stem cells in vital organs like the heart or liver. However the embryo stem cells have not learned where they belong yet, therefore they can be injected to failing organs and used to regenerate any organ.’
‘Is that the reason for all the secretiveness with the clinics?’
‘That’s part of it. There is also the fact that embryonic stem cells can only be obtained from a human embryo. Extracting its stem cells kills the embryo. And the embryo should ideally be less than two months old. Our clinics give free examinations and if a woman is found to be in the early stages of pregnancy we can abort the fetus and use the stem cells for further research.
Of course she may not always be willing to undergo this procedure so if it appears that she will not be missed we terminate her life as well. We dispose of her body in an arrangement where it will never be found.
There is another way to obtain embryos and that is to take the eggs from a woman’s ovaries but this procedure calls for the woman to have two weeks of intensive preparation, hormonal therapy with fertility drugs, blood tests and ultra sound scans. At the proper time the female’s eggs are retrieved by placing a needle through the vaginal wall. The eggs can be introduced to male sperm when they are ready for fertilization. We can do this in the laboratory under the proper conditions. All of this takes time and how many women in a Buddhist society would be willing to go through that; knowing their eggs would be fertilized and then aborted.’
‘Joe Nizzer’s sperm. They’re starting in America.’ It was starting to make sense to Rick now.
‘What?’ Jip was listening intently.
‘Never mind. Go on Doctor.’
‘It’s not against the law to use embryos from legal abortions like they have in America or to use embryonic stem cells taken from placentas and umbilical cords. However there is a whole multitude of do-gooders out there opposing even the legal use of embryos. You know all those right-to-lifers and Christian extremists- trying to say that an embryo only a few weeks old is actually a human life.’
‘That’s debatable. But this research is so important that we can’t worry about the niceties of it. Besides, legal embryonic cells are extremely difficult to obtain. Research laboratories around the world all want them. The United States government is trying to stop this but the best they could do is forbid the use of federal funds for this type of research.’
‘So now you just kill girls for their fetuses?’
‘In a word, yes.’
‘I’ve heard enough of this. Let’s go get Sonia.’
Jip shook his head. ‘Suppose we all barge into Johnny Wou’s house and Sonia isn’t there?’
‘That would be very unfortunate for everyone.’ The doctor shook his head now. ‘I will eventually be murdered for taking part in the search even though you brought me along against my will and sooner or later you’ll be killed also.’
‘Hey, I just saw two motorcycles going the other way and the guys on the back were holding AK-47s.’ Rick stared out the back window as the motorcycles made a U-turn. ‘Can they just drive around in the open like that, with those guns, like it was perfectly legal or something?
Jip stepped on the gas. ‘I saw them. They’re probably out of uniform cops or military. Johnny Wou’s men must be turning the city upside down looking for the doctor and us by now. Hold on to your rifle and get ready to get out when I stop. Doctor, get down on the floor and stay there. There’s going to be some shooting.’ Jip jammed on the brakes and the car swerved to the side of the road.
Rick leapt out, resting his weapon on the roof. The motorcycles tried to stop or slow down and they skidded on the road. One of the passengers raised his rifle and fired at the car, the bullets ripping into the back window and trunk.
Jip and Rick shot at the same time, spraying the motorcycles and men with bullets. The cycles went down, sliding towards the car, sparks flying as metal scraped against the street. The four men slammed to the pavement, tumbling along with the bikes. Jip and Rick got into the car and roared off.
Jip raced down the highway. ‘We’re going to hide in plain sight. We haven’t found Sonia yet and we can’t keep invading places like this. We need to stop and think, formulate a plan.’
Jip drove to his precinct station and parked in the rear of the building, backing the car into the far end of the lot, hoping the shattered rear window and bullet splattered rear end would not be noticed too soon. Jip hustled the doctor inside and down a flight of stairs. They passed a few barred holding cells, and came to a green steel door. Jip opened the door and pushed the doctor into a small concrete room. There was a single light bulb screwed into a ceiling socket and a black plastic slop bucket on the floor, nothing else except the stench of mildew and stale urine.
‘You’re going to leave me here?’
‘Contemplate your sins and praise Buddha for your life.’ Jip slammed the door, the noise echoing in the hallway. He took one of the padlocks that were hanging on the wall, secured the door and hung the key back up on the hook.
Jip ushered Rick up the stairs and into his office. ‘Take a seat and get comfortable. We need to plan out next move. We can’t go off half cocked.’
‘I wanted to ask you. The guard that was at the door of the clinic, just before you shot him, you asked him where Sonia was? You didn’t think that he would know did you?
‘Of course not. He’s just hired help. Probably can’t go for noodles with out getting the order wrong.’
‘So you blew his brains out?’
‘Pretty convincing argument wasn’t it. The doctor spoke right up after that; didn’t he?’
‘For Christ sakes, you can’t go around killing people. You’re a cop.’
‘Just think of it as making the world a better place to live.’
‘I’m tired of hearing that crap it’s not…
The door burst open and an officer barged into the room. He was wearing a snugly tailored brown uniform, the shirt tight against his corpulence. His epaulets gleamed with silver stars.
‘Jipthep, where the hell have you been and who’s this?’ He shouted pointing to Rick. The man’s face was twisted in anger.
Jip jumped to his feet and saluted. ‘Colonel Wansina, may I present Special Agent Rick Randel, United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.’
The colonel’s demeanor changed only slightly. ‘Welcome Special Agent Randel. Jipthep, where have you been? Do you know there’s an alarm out for a dark red Honda? There’s been a kidnapping over on Petchaburi. The Prime Minister’s aide has been calling every station house in the city. There’s a great deal of pressure on us to find these criminals and we need every man on the case-now!’
Colonel Wansina nodded his head in Rick’s direction, frowning ‘And we owe this pleasure to what?’
Rick waied, placing his palms together and raising them to his forehead, bowing. ‘I have the honor to be assigned to study the methods of the Bangkok Police. My government has granted me a small amount of cash to be donated to each station house for its involvement in our research. I regret that I am only able to provide a hundred thousand baht for each station that assists us.’
‘You’ve come to the right place and I see you’ve already met Captain Jipthep. He’s a very good man.’ The colonel spoke more softly now.
‘Thank you. If we decide to go ahead with our project, may I have the assistance of the Captain? Will a check made out to The Thon Buri Police be alright or will cash be more convenient?’
‘Cash will be fine, carry on.’ Colonel Wansina waved his hand in dismissal and sauntered out of the room.
‘There goes a happy man–for now,’ Jip said, sitting down again at the computer.
‘Special Agent of the FBI?’ Rick raised his eyebrows.
‘I thought it sounded better than restaurant owner. Anyway I just thought of one more person that we can talk to. The guy has his finger on the pulse of Bangkok. Let’s jump in a cab and get over to Sukhumvit. There’s no time to loose.’
The traffic was maddeningly slow and the stop lights seemed even longer than their usual three minutes.
‘Who are we going to see and how do you think he can help us?’ Rick twisted in his seat, unable to keep still.
‘I told you the man in black gave me the O’Neill tip. He knows a lot more than he’s saying.’
The cab came to a stop at Soi Four and they pushed their way through the crowd of tourists, girls and vendors clogging the small driveway that was the entrance to Nana Plaza. The smoke of pork and chicken grilled over live coals filled the air and the burning aroma of hot chilies saluted their nostrils.
They ignored the hawkers beckoning them into the clubs, grabbing their arms; “girlie show, girlie show” the doormen shouted, waving for them to enter the curtained entranceways. Jip walked directly towards Rainbow Two at the far right end of the plaza. He had found the Canadian there the last time.
‘If he’s here, stay cool and let me do the talking for now.’
Rick simply nodded his head, trying not to let his impatience show.
It was late in the evening and the place was packed. Forty girls or more were on the oval stage, some of them topless, wearing just bikini bottoms. The room was dark with the lights being directed at the dancers holding onto chrome poles. Jip ignored the girls and the men seated around the stage. He knew Chris would not be among them. He concentrated instead on the very back rows.
He found his man at the very end, seated in an upholstered booth, wearing a beige suit, blue shirt and silver-blue tie. An expensive Panama hat was resting neatly on the table in front of him. Jip might not have recognized him at all except for the fact that when a girl brought over a drink she waied and bowed so deeply one would have thought the prime minister was visiting.
Jip leaned over the bar and scooped up a hand full of ice. When he reached the Canadian, Jip tossed the ice on the table, the sparkling cubes dancing in the reflected stage lights, bouncing off the man’s hat.
‘Nice tip on O’Neill. Took me a while to figure it out.’
‘Sit down,’ Chris said softly. ‘I have plenty of friends here. I don’t want them to misunderstand your intentions.’
‘If I had any intentions they would not be misunderstood.’
Chris casually waved off three bouncers rapidly approaching the table as Jip slid into the seat next to him.
‘I need a lead on this ice business. It’s killing a lot of people and you’re going to tell me what you know.’
Chris took a sip of his club soda. ‘You’re wasting your time. I doubt that you police are willing or even able to help. You know about the cover-ups. You know how high it goes.’
‘I’m not talking about the police. What you say will only go as far as me. I’m going to crush the ice machine.’
‘Say that’s pretty good, crushed ice. Can I use that sometime?
‘Words are my business.’
‘You use them pretty well, don’t you.’ It wasn’t a question.
‘I’ll tell you what you want to know but you’ll probably end up dead like your father. Another hard-headed cop seeking justice.’
Surprise showed on Jip’s face. ‘If that’s what happens so be it.’
‘I asked around about you. You’re a good man. I’ll help you all I can. Who’s your friend?’
‘This is Rick Randel from America. His girlfriend has disappeared. We’re searching for her. Have you found out anything more about missing girls?
‘First things first. Have you ever heard of an organization called the Double Lucky Health Clinic?’
‘Have we? They kidnapped Sonia. We just blasted down their door over on Petchaburi.’
‘So you’re the guys the police are turning the town upside down for, not to mention all the bad guys that are trying to find you.’
‘We need a break. We need information. Time’s running out.’
‘Close down the clinics- if you can.’
‘Ever hear of anhydrous ammonia?’
‘I know.’ Rick nodded his head. ‘The clinics are full of it. We figure it’s just sitting there waiting for some terrorist to set it off. We already notified the police in America.’
‘The terrorists have set it off already. But these are not your usual terrorists. They’re using the ammonia to produce terror of a different kind.
Did you notice crates of ephedrine in the clinic? They’re cooking that with sodium hydroxide- you know, lye and hydrochloric acid and then it’s processed with the anhydrous ammonia.’
‘What are they doing, making explosives or ya-bah?’
‘They’re not producing bombs, and they’re not making ya-bah either. They’re making something much, much more potent. However they need more control on the quality and strength. It varies greatly with every batch during the cooking process. It might to be okay to smoke the product but if one swallows or injects it to get a bigger high, it has a lethal effect on the central nervous system and heart.’
Jip turned in his seat. ‘High blood pressure? Bleeding in the brain? Strokes?’
‘Yes, yes, all of that.’
‘So they’re making crystal meth. And it’s also called ice isn’t it? Why did they try to hide the real reason of the deaths? The young people overdosing in nightclub parking lots.’
‘Let’s face it. Ya-bah is a way of life now. Thais lap it up. Manual laborers and factory workers took it up first as a way to stay alert and energetic during long shifts and now it’s become a fashionable recreational drug in Thailand’s universities and schools. Every alley has a resident fleet of motorcycle taxies and they all can procure ya-bah-for anyone.
Wou wants to change all that to ice, methamphetamine hydrochloride to be precise. It’s extremely addictive. The profit is enormous. A glassine envelope of crystals cost about two baht to produce and sells for five hundred baht or more. The last thing they need is another government crack down. Wou figured if we could contain the deaths somehow, not get them splashed in the papers, he could ride it out; everything would be all right when they got the method perfected. He could make a fortune. Too many people dying would force the government to take action and the product might be discovered before it became entrenched in the Thai way of life like ya-bah.
They didn’t realize the strength of what they made until they had sold a few hundred packages of it. Once they get the processing corrected, it will sell like wildfire here. It will quickly overtake ya-bah.’
‘Do you know where they produce the meth? Where are the supplies coming from?’
‘Hell, the ice is being made in the laboratories of the health clinics. As for the supplies, most of the ma huang had been coming from the eastern fringes of Myanmar but the Thai army and police have clamped down on the smuggling routes across the land borders. So now it comes in boats along the Andaman Sea, shipped down from Mergui or Kawthaung in Burma to Phuket. Sometimes it goes the long way from Laos and then across the Gulf of Thailand to Surat Thani or Songkhla. The bad guys have expanded into Laos. It’s going to become the new drug capital of the world. If the Thai Navy picks up a few boats, it’s no problem; the profits on the drugs that reach their destination are huge. Everyone’s getting rich.’
‘Everyone’s getting rich except the poor people that are dying. And if they don’t die, after too much usage their brains start to go. They become violent, have paranoia and hallucinations. Five years ago, hospitals treated twelve times as many alcoholics as ya-bah users but now it’s the other way around. It’s a deluge and it’s got to be stopped. If this ice gets around it will be much worse. We’ve got to get back to the police station and hit my computer. We have to find an ephedrine distributing company and locate the warehouse, maybe in Klong Touey by the seaport. Track Sonia down from there. That would be our best bet. This all ties together.’
Rick butted into the conversation. ‘Why didn’t they just simply recall the crystal-meth that they sold? That would have saved a lot of lives.’
‘They tried that, but it was scattered all over and when they did find some of the dealers that it was sold to, they didn’t want to give it back.’
Rick shook his head. ‘Person dies from an overdose- all the addicts say, that must be some super shit, gimme some of that. Ice kills plenty of users normally, but this super ice- it’s like smoking rat poison.’
Jip stood and waied to Chris, holding his hands quite high, bending low. Chris waied back and Rick simply reached out his hand.
‘Thanks for your help. We’ve got to get a move on.’
‘Good luck and be careful out there. They play for keeps here.’
Jip turned slightly on his way out. ‘So do we.’
Back at headquarters Jip punched Bangkok ephedrine distributors into search on the computer and came up with eleven hits. Jip clicked on each of the companies and read the addresses. Seven of the companies had offices on Silom and Wireless Road. Three companies had an office on Ploenchit Road and there was one in Phuket. Jip printed out the information and picked up the telephone, punching in numbers. Silom and Wireless were expensive addresses with lots of street traffic. They would be much too visible to be a good place for the operation, a warehouse would be better.
‘This is United Parcel Service. I have a Priority Delivery and I must get it to the warehouse immediately but I can’t make out the address.’
Jip made four calls and wrote down all of the address and passed them to Rick. One warehouse was in Klong Touey, the other locations were on the outskirts of Bangkok near the airport and the last address was in Ko Sire, Phuket.
Jip leaned forward and rubbed his eyes, ‘Damn computer screens. Look, the one company has a warehouse in Phuket and Klong Touey. Both are deep-sea ports. Nobody’s going to sending too many illegal drugs by plane these days with all of the security at the airports. We know that Johnny Wou has plenty of ships and that a lot of ya-bah has been turning up in Phuket. It’s a perfect jumping off place for his ships to deliver drugs down to Australia or around to Japan and over to California. Or they can go north to Europe and the States.’
‘Right. So which place do we hit first, Klong Touey?’
‘It’s not that simple. We can’t just blast our way into the storehouse here because if Sonia isn’t there and she’s in Phuket, they’ll know something is up and they may get rid of her-dispose of the evidence. And there’s probably too many people working there to hold prisoner, like the doctor downstairs. Oh shit, I just thought of something I’ll be right back.’
Jip sprang from his seat and rushed to the door. He ran to the front of the station house and spoke to the desk sergeant. ‘I forgot to tell you that I arrested a crazy man today. He was waving a knife, saying he was going to operate on people passing by. We’re going to send him to Khlong Prem Central Prison in a few days. Make sure someone feeds him, will you? And pay no attention to whatever the guy says; he’s as batty as a bedbug, thinks he’s a doctor, wants to cut everyone open.’
The desk sergeant bowed his head slightly, ‘Yes Captain. I’m so sorry; I didn’t know you were back. Someone’s been calling for you. They wouldn’t leave a name or message. If they call again, I’ll transfer the call to your office.’
Rick had his head back and his eyes closed when Jip entered the office again. Rick sat up. ‘In two minutes, I’m going to go over to Wou’s hotel, see if he’s there and put a gun to his head.’
‘We can’t do that without knowing where Sonia is.’
Rick folded his arms across his chest. ‘Look, you don’t have to go in on this if you don’t want to, but I’m going over to get Wou.’
Jip held his hand up, palm facing Rick. ‘We can’t take the chance of letting them know that we’re on to them. We have to be certain before we make a move. There must be a way to make sure where she. We can’t take the chance of making another attack without finding her. They’ll catch on to us sooner or later and dump Sonia. There’s no doubt that poor Sonia is being held hostage and that her life’s in danger as we speak.’