The Imperial Hunter Chapter 13 - Beast Hunt (1)

Author: Dawn

The division of power in this business was never accomplished peacefully. This was especially true for the street gangs before the full-scale industrialization, as most of these neighborhood thugs had no ability to leave their own neighborhood (Street). They had to make their living in that neighborhood, live or die.

The relationship between the “White Guard” and the “American Front” was likely no exception. Shabby houses and cheap rent were the most powerful forces that confined these beasts. Even if it turned out that the “White Guard” had a sponsor, it was unlikely that the sponsor bought houses for these thugs.

Therefore, it was highly likely that the two tough groups that recently split up overlap in their territories. There was no need to look for the base of the emerging organization, the “White Guard.”

This was why I changed my next destination to Oakland, the operating area of the “American Front.” It was unfortunate that the original schedule had been delayed, but when you received a mission, it was better to resolve it promptly.

On the plane heading to Oakland via Los Angeles, Kyung-tae, sitting next to me, was connecting to the in-flight Wi-Fi with his laptop, searching for information on his own.

He leaned forward, placing one hand on his chin, and said. 

“By the way, I never thought I’d come all the way to the United States for a hunt.”

The first-class cabin on the domestic flight at this vague time had no passengers, making it eerily quiet. I kept my gaze on my smartphone screen and replied casually.

“It should be easier than what you were doing in China.”

“Ah, it’s nothing compared to China. You have to be really careful there.”

Kyung-tae said this as he nonchalantly chewed on something. Despite his appearance, he was a guy with an innate talent for finding and torturing people to death. He successfully completed nine human hunts that the organization had struggled with for a long time, and the profits he gained from that were approximately 230 billion Korean won.

I didn’t think of him as a simpleton for no reason. Even hunting dogs probably wouldn’t compare to this kind of hunting dog.

Kyung-tae reminisced about the most successful hunt he had ever conducted.

“When I made 1.9 trillion in one go in Jinan, that was the second best moment of my life. It didn’t even take half a year to embezzle that money, you know?” (+) [1]

“That’s right.”

“That bastard, I mean really, he was squeezing out his nails and using his toes, but he still wouldn’t cough up the money. He cried, saying all the money from Korea was gone, but… that professionalism alone even this Kim Kyung-tae has to admit it? This guy is a real scammer through and through.”

“You did go through a lot back then.”

“Hardship? I did it all for you, hyungnim.”


It was a story I’d heard many times, but what could you do? Compliments made hunting dogs dance.

Moreover, this guy’s pride wasn’t focused on the fact that he succeeded in the hunt, but that by doing so, he was more helpful to me than any other hunting dog.

If it weren’t for him, the 87 billion budget spent over 11 years on tracking would have been in vain.

As Kyung-tae mentioned, as a profitable business, human hunting usually targets con artists who flee overseas. When you caught just one con artist properly, the laundered assets that person refuses to reveal were often in the tens or even thousands of billions. Kyung-tae’s 1.9 trillion hunt was in a league of its own.

Since these prey were criminals, they diligently prepared to live as “non-existent people.” In other words, they were already “non-existent people,” so even if you really eliminated them, there were no legal repercussions. At the very least, you didn’t have to worry about official investigations by law enforcement agencies. As long as you erased the traces well.

Perhaps imperialist hunts like this one wouldn’t be the only more profitable ones.

‘Even if there was a little trouble during one hunt…’

Since there were many guys in my organization who had been unfairly treated, I received a ridiculous suggestion to use some of the proceeds for victim relief, even if it was just a part.

I responded to this suggestion as follows:

“Why should I do that?”

And I asked again.

“Why should I risk getting my tail stepped on when there are others who should take responsibility?”

Large-scale scams like the phone fraud scams spread numerous traces around because, even due to the trait of constantly needing new victims. And until the con artist finished wrapping up the business and fled overseas, there was usually at least a few months of time. During that time, the scammers did everything they could to prepare for escape.

So, there was an abundance of time and opportunities to catch the scammer before the grand scam bore fruit. That was why my hunting dogs could sniff ahead of time.

If you were a person with normal judgment, wouldn’t you realize right away that someone promising a fixed 10% monthly profit was a scam?

However, even if someone heard such nonsense and realized it was a scam, they rarely reported it to the authorities. They just get annoyed or express contempt and keep their distance. It was because the one being scammed was a fool. Such spectators didn’t even have the awareness that they inadvertently facilitated the situation, let alone the later ridicule.

Even if, by some rare chance, a diligent person did report it, it was even harder to find cases where law enforcement authorities respond properly. It was fortunate if they didn’t hear any complaints like, “Why are you doing this when you’re not even involved?”

‘Or they start cursing right after receiving the report.’

For example, during the Cho Hee-pal case, the Chief Prosecutor at the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office received money and delayed the issuance of a warrant, giving Cho Hee-pal’s gang time to escape overseas. Although the prosecutor eventually served a prison sentence, he was just a small part of the iceberg, as he justified himself. (+) [2]

Weren’t guys like that worse off than me? At least I gave con artists the shivers. Even if the authorities tried to catch a con artist, the maximum sentence under Korea’s criminal law was just a few years. It was closer to a legal loophole than a punishment.

While educating my hunting dogs in defense logic, I strengthened the motivation of the entire organization by significantly increasing the budget for the childcare facilities run by the organization.

‘The Mexican cartel guys don’t just operate hospitals and schools for no reason.’

Such social contributions were both a means of gaining the support of local residents and a tool for arming organization members ideologically. Unless they were psychopaths, even the most heinous criminals wanted to believe they were good people somehow. Without seeing through this psychology, you couldn’t stably run a large organization. My organization, even more so.


Kyung-tae turned his laptop screen toward me. On the screen was a P2P chat program used as an internal messenger substitute.

“It’s a message from Suyeon-noonim. She says she has a payment to receive.”

“We’re on an airplane now, so tell her we’ll talk later.”


Kyung-tae quickly sent a short reply. Suyeon didn’t input any more messages. Here in the United States, exchanging encrypted packets on an airplane would almost certainly put us under surveillance.

When we arrived at the old airport, it was raining. The smell of the sea on a humid day permeated the terminal. We took a prepared car and headed to the northern port. The hotel Hong Young-sik had booked was a mid-sized hotel adjacent to the ferry terminal. The hotel’s blue roof sparkled like water under the overcast sky.

We got a place close to the waves mainly because of the street gangs’ physiology. These guys were at the bottom of the smuggling pyramid. Typically, these guys’ money-making scheme involved taking chunks of the goods, mixing impurities, and then selling small amounts at a time. The extortion of protection fees, theft, robbery, etc., was nothing more than supplementary income.

So where did they import these goods from?

The easiest way was still by sea. Airports had much stricter inspections, and roads were easy to get caught in the middle. But a ship, once the cargo was transshipped somewhere in the wide open sea, became hard to trace. This was smuggling at its finest. This was why my organization owned numerous ocean-going fishing vessels and cargo ships.

Oakland, where the police budget had hit rock bottom, was a good city for this kind of smuggling.

In my eyes, even the yachts gently swaying in front of the hotel pier seemed like a means of smuggling. In fact, several of them likely had sensitive cargo stowed away somewhere in the hold.

But no matter how suspicious, without a warrant, they couldn’t be searched, and even if they were searched and something was found, it couldn’t be used as evidence. The principle of the fruit of the poisonous tree. Illegally obtained evidence was not admissible in court.

While some of the security team went to request an extension, I made a call to Korea. The call was protected by end-to-end encryption, so there was no worry of eavesdropping. It seemed like Suyeon was waiting as soon as the signal went through.


“I heard there’s a matter that needs approval.”

[Yes. The Guangdong Triad has requested a large supply of illicit military weapons for guerrilla warfare.]

“Illicit? How much are they planning to buy?”

[They’ve set a timeframe but haven’t specified the types or limits. It’s essentially an unlimited purchase declaration.]


This was unlucky. To request an unlimited purchase at a point where we wanted to stockpile.

[I’m sorry, Hyungnim. I did my best to refuse, but—]

“I know you did.”

It was difficult to outright reject an offer from the Triad. If you said it was absolutely not possible, they took it as an insult. The Chinese had their pride… Still, those who dabble in foreign goods were somewhat more lenient, but the ones on the mainland were a problem.

Furthermore, those playing in Guangdong were the dirty hands and feet of the Communist Party. Unless they planned to completely cease activities in China, we had to cater to them to some extent.

So, the best approach was to buy time through price negotiations. Offering a price that the other side couldn’t accept but without explicitly revealing your intention to break off the deal. Suyeon had the ability to walk that subtle line.

Therefore, when Suyeon said she did her best, it also meant that she had managed to push the profit margin for this deal to an unusually high level.

“What’s the profit margin?”

[The markup for assault rifles classed as pure is 38 hundred percent.]


“And they accepted those conditions?”

[Yes. Please take a look at the other items. I’ll send you the files.]

My smartphone vibrated. Without ending the call, I opened the files Suyeon sent me. The profit margins ranged from a minimum of 3,800 percent to a maximum of 12,000 percent depending on the item.

The standard for calculating the profit margin in dealings with other organizations was the average market price in the legitimate weapons market. The typical profit margin in the black market was around 1,000 percent. It could vary significantly depending on the transportation route and the destination where the goods were sold, but the final price the retailer received was about 8,800 dollars for an 800-dollar automatic rifle, for example. This was because it included transportation costs and risk management expenses. There were no honest dealers regarding people buying weapons in the black market.

Since my actual purchase price for the goods was much lower than the regular market price, a nominal profit margin of 3,800 percent meant that the real profit margin was more than double that. It was almost a $20,000 net profit for each assault rifle sold.

Something big was coming.

The real target of this deal was the Chinese government. It was not just the usual case of outsourcing work to the Triad; they were borrowing the Triad’s shell to make it seem like a completely unrelated third party. This was so they could confidently claim innocence when questioned by the international community.

Otherwise, there was no reason for them to request work from someone like me, an arms dealer who operated outside the purview of Western intelligence agencies unless they’d already concentrated on surveillance and containment.

This occasionally happened.

“Where are these goods headed?”

[The first leg is to Laem Chabang Port. The final destination hasn’t been disclosed yet.]

“…Laem Chabang, that’s in the south of Thailand, right?”


“Are they planning to support a coup?”

[It could also be cargo heading to northern Myanmar via land.]

Suyeon also seemed to have accepted the fact that the other party was the Chinese government.

In northern Myanmar, there was a rebel group called the United Wa State Army (UWSA) which had been thriving. These rebels, who advocated for the creation of a Wa ethnic independent state, had, in fact, been under the covert control of the Chinese Communist Party since their inception.

China’s strategy was simple. Give both aid and trouble. By supporting rebels to increase Myanmar’s economic and political burdens while shaking money in front of them through business, they made offers Myanmar couldn’t refuse.

Compared to the political and economic benefits of controlling a nation, the substantial margin they threw at an arms dealer like me was pocket change.

‘Otherwise, they would have ordered Pakistani replicas.’

Pakistani-made replicas, which were produced in cottage industries, had problems with durability and reliability but were extremely cheap. Even if they’d declined in the last few years, there was no reason for them not to accept Chinese orders.

In other words, the fact that the Chinese insisted on paying a higher price for genuine articles meant they were concerned about the combat capabilities and morale of the supported side. Also, the relationship with the beneficiary.

I asked for Suyeon’s opinion.

“What are the odds, in your view?”

[Ninety percent Myanmar, ten percent Thailand.]

“Can we squeeze more out of Myanmar?”

[Rather than that, it’s possible that their intention is to mitigate the Myanmar government’s and public’s reluctance regarding their previous support for the United Wa State Army. Since the advent of democracy, they can no longer simply quell citizens’ dissatisfaction with brute force as they used to.]

The United Wa State Army’s equipment was almost entirely of Chinese origin, apart from the AK rifles they produced locally. If Suyeon’s hypothesis was correct, China might be trying to launder its image by providing the United Wa State Army with American-made equipment now.

Even though they’d signed peace agreements like the Philippines, the United Wa State Army remained one of the most significant security threats in Myanmar.

“Just being a pro-China government doesn’t seem enough?”

[In my judgment, yes. They seem to be entering long-term image management. They have a lot of interests to protect, not just the harbor. They probably don’t want to create vulnerabilities for friendly figures. At the very least, they don’t want to create weaknesses for people who are friendly to them.]


The Myanmar elite had been in bed with China for a long time. Even after the democratic elections, this hadn’t changed. Although the military had ceded power, military figures still held key positions across various sectors.

Among them, only they and their masters would know who among them were China’s lapdogs.

“Let’s do this.”

I had a good idea.

“Let’s do some laundering here before we go.”

  • 1. TLN: Jinan is a city in China.
  • 2. TLN: Cho Hee-pal, one of Korea’s most wanted scammers, who fled the country in 2008 after swindling thousands out of 3.5 trillion won ($3 billion).
Author's Thoughts

This novel is a work of fiction! While it may incorporate elements inspired by our "real" historical world, including historical events, settings, and cultures, it is important to note that the story and characters are entirely products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, or actual events is purely coincidental. This work should be enjoyed and interpreted as a work of fiction and not as a representation of historical facts or reality.
Also, if you find some error in translation please do let me know by tagging me (@_dawn24) in our Discord server. Since this series is kinda hard to translate. But I'll try my best to make it at least readable :)
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