SAN FRANCISCO—Former Chinatown gang leader, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, 55, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, to stand trial with seven affiliates on Tuesday, July 7. His trial is anticipated to start on November 2, with jury selection slated to begin on October 19.
Chow immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in 1976, when he was 16. Chow is well-known for his lifelong gang affiliation that started when he was initiated at the young age of nine-years-old; his story was featured on The History Channel’s TV series, “Ganglands.” In San Francisco, Chow is recognized for his criminal connection to Chinatown’s street gangs. Chow’s first convictions date back to his participation in the Chinatown robberies that occurred in 1978, in which he served a seven-year prison sentence. Chow spent the majority of 20 years in and out of prison for counts of assault, illegal possession of firearms, attempted murder, money, drug, and prostitution laundering.
In 2003 Chow was granted conditional release, and a reduced prison sentence for his testifying against his former boss, Peter Chong. After his release, Chow volunteered his time with troubled youth groups and renounced himself from his criminal past. His work and philanthropic involvements were recognized by Senator Dianne Feinstein, and local city officials. By 2006, Chow was allegedly deemed leader of the Ghee Kung Tong enterprise, an organization that created a franchise of selling stolen contraband, as well as trafficking drugs, guns, and laundering money.
Chow is currently being tried for conspiracy charges and allegations of participation in organized crime from an arrest that took place during an FBI raid on March 26, 2014. The investigation surrounds State Senator Leland Yee, who was indicted for accepting $62,000 toward his campaign in exchange for legislative favors and arranging the sale of machine guns and missiles to an undercover FBI agent.
On Wednesday, July 1, Yee pleaded guilty to taking part in Chow’s enterprise that affected state commerce. In addition to Yee’s plea, former San Francisco School Board President, Keith Jackson, pled guilty and admitted to setting up the political deals. Brandon Jackson and Marlon Sullivan also admitted to participating in criminal involvements with Chow’s Ghee Kung Tong; all four defendants are set to be sentenced as early as October 21.
According to Chow’s lawyer, Tony Serra, Chow will be testifying on his own behalf, and will not consider taking a plea deal. Chow insists that he did not take part in any wrongdoing, and that his involvement was a set-up instigated by federal authorities. Chow is facing a 20 year prison sentence for seven counts of money laundering, as well as three counts of transporting stolen contraband.