Chapter 103: A Land of Opportunity (2)
People have intuition.
When ignorantly passing by some empty fields, Youngho swore that he saw something like a mirage. He rented a car and traveled around Nakhodka, a trade port city, and other places in Vladivostok.
What he visually envisioned on the field was a humongous warehouse built on the vast empty fields. Vladivostok was what Russia considered a bridgehead of the Far Eastern region. Below Sakhalin islands, there were abundant oil and natural gas deposits. That was a great potential for development. Since it was a communist country, he could not buy the land to own but he heard that people could lease it permanently.
Youngho thought that a warehouse business could be successful once he could lease some land on the roadside. People might wonder why a cold-storage warehouse was needed in this cold region but because it was extremely cold, a facility that could maintain the right temperature had a merit.
In a place like this where the temperature went down to negative four degrees to negative twenty-two in Fahrenheit, fine supplies would easily get broken. Everything should be stored in a warehouse so that it could operate as it is supposed to be.
“I think it’d make me money if I build a high-storage warehouse or cold-storage warehouse. It takes two hours from Nakhodka port to the downtown, so wouldn’t it be awesome if I build a warehouse in the middle?”
Jongil nodded to Youngho as he agreed to Youngho’s idea.
“You’re thinking of bringing Yaniv into this, right?”
“Of course. Although this is the eastern side of the country, I heard that mafias signed for a gentlemen’s agreement to support each other’s back. There are too many mafia organizations from different republics, so Russian mafias agreed to have peace with each other.”
Youngho thought that he could let Yaniv take the big part in the business and he could only have a little share of the business. It would still make him money as time went on, although little by little. After all, he had no base in Russia. If he started doing business on his own without Yaniv’s help, he would not make it far from the pressures of other Russian mafias. If he could not fight back against them, it would be better to make them on his side.
Youngho did not wait too long before taking his idea into action, he called Sergey right away.
“Brother. Are there mafias in Vladivostok?”
“What is it? Are you in trouble?”
“Hey brother, I’m not that kind of a person. Have you seen me in trouble? I have a great business idea in here but I was worried about local mafias would not like that.”
“Phew, that’s better. Wait? What is the business idea that you want to do alone? It’s our region over there as well. You shouldn’t do it alone.”
Vladivostok was not actually Southern mafia’s region. Sergey was just saying it since he had the power to deal with the eastern local mafias.
“Hahaha. Brother, I can’t do anything by myself in Russia. I was going to discuss it with Mr. Yaniv soon.”
“Is that so? I knew you’d not forget about us. I trust your senses for business. Tell me what it is now.”
Sergey got excited about Youngho’s idea. He told Youngho to wait in Vladivostok because he would fly there immediately. If the business proposal was passed by Sergey, Yaniv will unconditionally supported his idea because Sergey was like his son and he only always acted upon statistical data after a thorough investigation.
For the business development, Youngho ended up staying even longer in Vladivostok. He thought that he should tell Kim Ilkwon and his family to rest in the hospital a little longer. Ilkwon’s family had nothing to do in Baku yet, so they agreed to stay in here longer.
Youngho had assigned workers to build a house for Ilkwon’s family. They would be able to move in by July since a single house could be built in two months if workers hurried the construction process.
He let Fatima know about his business plan in there since Fatima would get upset if he did not show up at the farm without saying anything in advance. Knowing that she would give him an earful later, he now reported any schedule changes to her.
To make her feel better, he also told her that she could visit him with the siblings although he knew that she would not be able to since the school was in session. Youngho now was always careful not to hurt Fatima’s feelings.
Youngho greeted Sergey who just landed in Volgograd.
“Brother, you’d get sick if you hurry things like this. You should take a rest. Youngho is talking nonsense that he saw a mirage but you’re even stranger to fly to here trusting his words.”
Jongil, who was napping before Youngho dragged him to the airport, complaining.
“You’re his friend and still don’t know about him? He is the Midas touch.”
“It’s not ‘Midas’, it’s ‘Minus’. He keeps giving away his money and it makes me so frustrated.”
“Hey, hey. It’s a businessman who gives small things and takes big things in exchange.”
They spoke about business for a while but they soon turned their topic about seafoods in here. It looked like they were dying to drink again together.
They traveled two times to Nakhodka port with their rental car. They spotted some small-scale warehouses in different locations. If they built a large-scale complex of warehouses, it seemed that they could have competition. It was only Youngho’s vision for now.
Sergey smiled with satisfaction after he had finished checking the printed statistics data around the region, meeting officials related to trades of the port, and confirming the number of goods transported. He was certain that it would be a success because all of the containers stored in the port’s open-air storage yard had functions to keep temperatures either cold or hot.
“Youngho, you… ”
Sergey seemed to be amazed by Youngho, he was about to hug him.
“Brother, please. I don’t give hugs to men.”
Then he called Yaniv right away.
A few moments later, Youngho was the one who was talking on the phone with Yaniv.
“Lee, Sergey is exuberated now. Haha. You know you should also invest some to take your part in this business.”
“Mr. Yaniv, I feel like I’m dealing with too many things now.”
“I’ll ask help from President Putin. He would also be very interested since he wanted to develop the Far Eastern region too. If I ask him to give some areas, he’s not going to reject it since I’m the one who’s investing my money on the region.”
“Yeah, that is true though…”
“Don’t you worry. Sergey said he already studied statistics and it should be good. You know he’s a doctoral degree in business administration.”
“Alright then. Mr. Yaniv. I’ll plan out the business with brother Sergey.”
“Oh! Can you get gifts for Zeynep and tell her that I sent them? She doesn’t answer my phone calls lately.”
He was in love with Zeynep who felt like his granddaughter. Youngho thought that he would even give his giant, luxury yacht if Zeynep asked.
‘Wait, should I manipulate her to get yacht from him?’
“Okay, I will do that. I’ll pick up things that Zeynep would like.”
“Okay, don’t drink too much. Sergey is at an age to take care of his body more but don’t say that I told that.”
“I got it Mr. Yaniv, I’ll take care of brother Sergey too.”
‘What an irony. He’s the one who drinks like there’s no tomorrow but he cares for Sergey…’
Sergey who received the phone was curious about their conversation.
“Brother, Mr. Yaniv worries about your health. We should be abstinent from drinking from now on…”
“What? Man, why would my boss say that…”
“We need to listen to the adults like good kids. Jongil, Mr. Yaniv said he’ll bury us if we drink with brother Sergey again. Let’s just drink without him.”
Not knowing what was going on, Jongil just kept blinking his eyes.
The warehouse business did not need lots of investments once the land was secured. Using good insulation materials when building warehouses and keeping maintenance well, were all they needed to do to keep the business going. The rest was making money.
Sergey and Youngho agreed that Youngho would invest three million dollars and Yaniv would invest seventeen million dollars.
Youngho’s share was about fifteen percent, and he did not have to pay the money now, since they agreed on paying the money with wines instead. Since Youngho had been selling about 1 million dollar worth of wine, he could pay off in three months but because he still had debt to the rebels, Sergey gave him a grace period until he paid off the debt from buying the gold bars.
President Putin ordered related officials to move for Yaniv’s convenience. Although the local mafias heard about the rumor that Yaniv was doing warehouse business in their region, they did not even dare to interrupt since the president was behind the business.
A Far Eastern district’s representative, the governor of the Maritime Providence, the mayor of Vladivostok, and other high officials visited the construction field often to support Yaniv, so no one could argue with Yaniv.
Youngho and Jongil were now in Baku with Ilkwon’s family.
Since Sergey was in Vladivostok taking care of the business, Youngho had nothing to worry about the rest. He heard that Sergey was going to sign the leasing contract for the land of eighteen million sq. ft. They did not need that much land to build the warehouse complex but it seemed that the government did not consider it a waste since they had lots of extra lands.
There was a little happening to Ilkwon’s family who had never been on a plane. Although they had Russian passports, they could not speak Russian except for Ilkwon. So, they all had to act like they were mutes to pass the airport security.
It was Youngho’s mistake to think that having passports would do the job. It was risky but luckily, they could pass the security checkpoint without problems. When Ilkwon’s family arrived at the farm, they seemed to be surprised by thw foreigners, the siblings, who greeted them in Korean.
Ilkwon asked if they could stay in another place after his family stayed for a night at the farm with other people in the management building. Because they were too insecure from trauma, they were not able to eat at the table with others, they needed a quiet and safe place only for themselves. Youngho agreed, so the family now would be staying in the little house on the Charles farm alone. They needed time for themselves to heal their hearts since it was hard for them to have contact with other people.
Although they knew that Youngho was a great person, they did not trust him fully. They were afraid that he would try to oppress them or exploit them. Until they found peace of mind, Youngho decided to give them some space. Worried about their conditions, Youngho thought that they needed to be treated by psychiatrist, so he asked Ilkwon about conditions.
“Ilkwon, can you tell me about your family’s physical and mental status? If they needed to be treated, I can help them getting anything they need like a psychiatrist or counselor.”
“Boss, my family is strong. If they’re treated by psychiatrists, they might close their minds even more. Those kinds of treatments are not even dared to be dreamed of in North Korea.”
It was understandable, the concept of going to the psychiatric hospital was not positively considered in South Korea either, but in North Korea those types of treatments were not common.
“It’s not something you should be ashamed of. In developed countries, people would go see psychiatrists when depression lasts for a little longer than usual.”
Youngho thought that it should be their priority to forget about what happened in the political prisoner camp. His heart was heavy thinking that they might not be able to live normally from now on because of the traumatic experience. It would not be only Ilkwon’s family who had to live with the pain since there were lots of them in North Korea and among many of the defectors who left North Korea.