Raymond ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow accused of orchestrating Mendocino Coast slaying.
Chow, who took over a Chinatown fraternal organization in 2006 after his 2003 release from prison for racketeering, pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to conspiring to murder Jim Tat Kong, 51, of San Pablo. He also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of conspiring to kill another rival in 2006. Chow’s lawyers, led by J. Tony Serra, have characterized the federal investigation as a failed attempt to lure the notorious onetime Chinatown gangster back to criminal activity using undercover agents.
Kong was found with Cindy Bao Feng Chen, 38, of San Francisco on Oct. 17, 2013, in a minivan parked on a dirt pullout leading to an old bark dump off Highway 20 outside Fort Bragg.
Kong and Chen had been shot in the heads at point-blank range in what appeared to be a calculated execution, with the gunman leaving behind the bodies and packages of marijuana, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Patten said. No shooter has been arrested.
The federal case does not identify a suspected triggerman. It instead focuses on the activities of Chow, who served nearly two decades in prison for racketeering charges involving prostitution and firearms. His defense team says Chow has reformed.
But Chow is scheduled to stand trial starting Nov. 2 following a multiyear FBI investigation that alleges he used the Ghee Kung Tong fraternal association in San Francisco as a base for a broad range of illegal activities, including gun trafficking and drug sales.
Chow was the “dragonhead” of the Ghee Kung Tong and a member of the Hop Sing Tong, both based in Chinatown, when he was arrested in 2014, his lawyer Curtis Briggs said.
Kong at one point belonged to the Hop Sing Tong board but apparently was ousted.
Briggs said the FBI investigation has only uncovered illegal activities committed by other people who were coerced into the crimes by undercover agents and informants, and he said they have no real evidence against Chow.
Briggs said he welcomed the addition of murder conspiracy charges introduced over the past week because it will allow him to show a jury the vast weaknesses in the government’s case.
“There’s absolutely no evidence connecting Raymond to either murder,” Briggs said.
A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to answer specific questions about the case and said the public documents filed with the court outline the government’s evidence against Chow.
Van Patten said the sheriff’s investigations team is still deep in its two-year pursuit to identify and arrest those responsible for killing Kong and Chen. Detectives have followed leads to the greater Bay Area and Southern California.
While his team has cooperated with the federal investigation, the local homicide case is a separate matter, Van Patten said.
Chow, whose legal name is Kwok Cheung Chow, is not being charged in connection with Chen’s death.
His 2014 arrest was one of roughly two dozen made in a complicated corruption and racketeering case that also involved San Francisco State Sen. Leland Yee, an associate of Chow’s.
Yee, a star in the Democratic party who was a candidate for California secretary of state when he was arrested, pleaded guilty in July to taking bribes from undercover FBI agents in exchange for planned votes in the state Senate and pledges to smuggle firearms.
Chow’s lawyers contend he cleaned up his act after his 2003 release from prison. The city of San Francisco honored him in 2006, and subsequent media profiles spotlighted his volunteer work and charitable acts.
Kong and Chen died violently and suddenly, according to Van Patten.
A group of off-road bikers first saw the van with Chen’s and Kong’s bodies inside and initially thought the two were asleep, he said. The bikers set out for a ride on the dirt trails beyond the gate. When they returned, they took a closer look and saw blood on one of the victims’ faces and called 911, Van Patten said.
Van Patten provided few additional details, but he said detectives immediately had some “workable leads,” and that included evidence recovered from the scene.
The pair did not have clear connections to Mendocino County, but the pot pointed to a potential reason for their visit, he said. The captain would not disclose how much marijuana was in the van with Kong and Chen, only describing it as “more than a personal-use amount.”
He said investigators were under the impression that Chen was Kong’s girlfriend.
A Mendocino County-issued death certificate for Kong filed in Contra Costa County shortly after his death, as part of a property deed matter, lists a woman named De Ming Liu as his wife.
Federal documents describe Kong as a longtime organized crime figure in San Francisco’s Chinatown and in Los Angeles. Kong was the focus of a federal investigation for allegedly dealing Ecstasy and other drugs in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, but he was never arrested.
The federal case against Chow centers around the infighting over control of the tongs, and it outlines a falling-out between Chow and Kong.
Chow claimed Kong had an affair with another “brother’s” wife and “Kong was trying to take over the Hop Sing Tong,” according to the case against Chow.
The papers describe a series of confrontations between the men, including a standoff in November 2011 when Kong is said to have showed up to the tong wearing a bulletproof vest, with other men stashing guns in nearby restaurant bathrooms and the San Francisco Police gang task force standing by.
Briggs, Chow’s lawyer, said Kong was embroiled in drugs and other criminal activities and claimed to be working alongside Chow, which led Chow to publicly denounce Kong to tong members.
In February 2012, Kong was voted off the board during an annual Hop Sing Tong meeting held in Marysville, during which police were called to stop a fight, the papers said. Kong was arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats, but the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office declined to charge him.
Tongs have been central to the civic life and business networks of Chinese-Americans since the Gold Rush. Federal authorities allege the tongs, particularly Hop Sing, have seen some of their activities taken over by organized crime figures.
Federal prosecutors on Friday also charged Chow with conspiring to murder prominent San Francisco businessman Allen Leung, who was killed Feb. 27, 2006, at his Jackson Street import-export store in San Francisco by a masked gunman. A suspect has not been identified.
This article includes information from the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.
“SHRIMP BOY” EXTENSIVE TIES TO CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT PARTY | April 13, 2014 | Paul Winters
Posted on April 13, 2014 at 12:48:40 PM PDT by dignitasnews
Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow (full name Raymond Chow Kwok Cheung), the reputed San Francisco China Town Racketeer has a much more extensive relationship than some in the mainstream media would like to point out. Chow, who was in connection with a Federal probe which included disgraced California State Senator Leland Yee, has numerous connections to powerful California Democrats, particularly since his early release from a 24 year prison sentence on 2003.
Since his release, Chow has been increasingly active in Democrat politics circles, regularly sharing the spotlight with leading Democrats, entertainers, Hollywood executives and socialites as part of the elite San Francisco nightlife. Upon his release, he began working with various city-sponsored organizations, including his work with "at-risk youth" of which he received praise and honors from various Democrat power brokers. As a result, he became heavily involved in community politics, and claimed to be pitching a movie to Hollywood about his life. He was being honored by the likes of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
At a 2009 City Hall press conference, following a banquet held in his honor, Chow stated, "all the criminal past I had, I cannot deny that but today I do not represent crime. I do not represent violence and gangs." On his Facebook page, in 2012, he stated: "As a leader you sacrifice yourself, your time, your conflict of interest to be fair with another people. You must think about the public interest before yourself. You go thru a lot of obstacles but every obstacle you enjoy that moment. Every obstacle makes me stronger than ever. Life lesson. Carry yourself with the principal"
Chow was born in 1960 in Hong Kong. On the History Channels popular television program Gangland, Chow said he first joined a gang in his native Hong Kong when he was nine years old, when he stabbed someone. Chow came to the United States at the age of 16, and was reportedly nicknamed "Shrimp Boy" by his grandmother, due to his small stature. He dropped out of high school and became involved with the Hop Sing Tong gang.
When Chow was 17 and a member of a the Hop Sing Boys, he survived an attack by a rival gang at the Golden Dragon restaurant.
Chow's first conviction was in 1978, for robbery in Chinatown, San Francisco. Chow received an 11-year sentence, of which he served 7 years and 4 months. He was released in 1985. In 1986, Chow was charged with 28 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, mayhem, and illegal possession of a firearm. He served three years in prison and was released in 1989. In 1992 Chow was arrested for racketeering, later separated into two separate trials. The first was for illegal gun sales and the second was for prostitution, drugs and money laundering. Convicted in 1995, Chow was sentenced to 24 years. When crime lord Peter Chong was captured, Chow turned on his old boss and cooperated with authorities, testifying against him in exchange for a reduced sentence. He was released from prison in 2003. In 1996, Chow was tried again for racketeering, but the indictment was dismissed.
Despite his public persona as a rehabilitated criminal looking to "give back," Chow allegedly maintained his status among the San Francisco Chine underworld. He is currently the leader, or "dragon head," of Hung Moon Ghee Kung Tong, a fraternal association in San Francisco sometimes referred to as the Chinese Freemasons. Still, Chow had promoted himself as a legitimate businessman and "community organizer." The city gave him a certificate of honor, arranged by Democrat Supervisor Fiona Ma. He honored by Senator Diane Feinstein and other high-level politicians based on a "Change Agent" award given to him by Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services.
In his Facebook post directly after the raids, he declared, "Don't believe everything you read or hear. Make your decision after you meet me and get to know me. I got to laugh today and I hope this photo does the same for you."
The media shapes perception of crime to fit their narrative. The silence about the disgraced convicted gun running Democrat State Senator Leland Yee is disgraceful. A loudmouth anti-gun Democrat convicted for running guns and it's long ago local history.
Leland Yee Renews Call For ‘Bullet Button’ Loophole Law
December 17, 2012 5:34 PM
Filed Under: Assault Weapons Ban, Bullet Button, California, Crime, Gun Control, Law, Leland Yee, Newton, Shooting
A bullet is used to detach a magazine from an AR-15 rifle. (CBSon facebookShare on twitterShare on emailMore Sharing Services3
SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – A California lawmaker has said he will introduce legislation aimed at strengthening the state’s restrictions on gun ownership in the wake of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, said Monday that he will try again to close the so-called “bullet button” loophole in the state’s assault weapons ban, which allows manufacturers to sell weapons with magazines that can be replaced quickly using a simple button.
Yee said he is also exploring legislation on everything from background checks to gun storage.
A similar “bullet button” bill Yee introduced in the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colo., died in the state Assembly.
State Sen. Leland Yee Arrested, Accused In Conspiracy Involving Arms Trafficking, Campaign Fraud
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Democratic State Senator Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday morning in a series of federal raids in the Bay Area and Sacramento targeting an alleged corruption conspiracy involving arms trafficking and campaign fraud to fund his campaign for Secretary of State.
Federal agents arrested Lee at his home in San Francisco Wednesday morning and he was driven to the federal courthouse while his offices in Sacramento were raided.
Download the 137-page Criminal Complaint (.pdf)
Also arrested in the raid was 54-year-old Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a former Chinatown gangster who currently heads the Chee Kung Tong masonic organization in San Francisco commonly referred to as the Chinese Freemasons. Agents Wednesday also raided a San Francisco Chinatown building at 36 Spofford St. which houses the Chee Kong Tong.
The charges against Yee include conspiracy to deal firearms without a license, conspiracy to illegally transport firearms, six counts of a scheme to defraud citizens on his services, and wire fraud. A handcuffed and shackled Lee was released on a $500,000 unsecured bond Wednesday evening and was scheduled to return to court Monday to revisit the terms of his release.
A total of 26 people were arrested on a variety of charges, including murder-for-hire, drug trafficking and gun running, according to the federal criminal complaint.
The federal complaint was filed March 24 and unsealed Wednesday alleges Sen. Yee was engaged in soliciting illegal campaign donations in exchange for political favors and was involved in a conspiracy to traffic firearms from Russia.
The complaint also alleges Chow was engaged in money-laundering, conspiracy to transport stolen property and conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes.
State Sen. Yee represents California’s 8th District which includes part of San Francisco and the Peninsula. He is currently a candidate for California Secretary of State.
State Sen. President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg called on Yee to immediately step down Wednesday, saying the allegations shocking and created “a huge cloud” over the Senate. Yee is the third Senate Democrat embroiled in criminal charges this year, including corruption and voter fraud.
Yee has been an effective lawmaker who has been dogged by controversies over the years. He serves on a number of California Senate committees and chairs three committees, including the Select Committee on California’s Public Record and Open Meeting Laws.
“That’s shocking news to me,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee when asked about the arrest of Sen. Yee. “It’s many years of public service so, I don’t know what’s occurred there … I hope for the best.”
Also arrested in Wednesday’s raids was 49-year-old San Francisco political consultant Keith Jackson. According to the complaint, Jackson is alleged to be involved in a murder-for-hire conspiracy, gun trafficking and drug trafficking.
Jackson was characterized in the complaint as a close associate of both Yee and Chow and had been involved in raising campaign funds for Yee during his unsuccessful campaign for San Francisco Mayor in 2011.
The complaint alleges Jackson and Yee arranged for illegal campaign donations which were provided by undercover agents. It was also alleged that in exchange for donations to retire his 2011 campaign debt, Yee would perform official acts or issue proclamations on behalf of the Chee Kung Tong organization.
The complaint also alleges Yee and Jackson arranged for campaign donations in exchange for Sen. Yee connecting the donor with an arms dealer for the purpose of importing weapons from rebels fighting the Philippines government. In another instance, the complaint alleges, Yee and Jackson agreed that in exchange for campaign donations, Sen. Yee would introduce a donor to state legislators who had influence over pending marijuana legislation.
In each case, the donors were actually undercover FBI agents.
Yee has gained the ire of gun supporters for pushing for reforms to the California ‘Bullet Button’ loophole law that to strengthen assault weapons regulations.
Maximum penalties for the firearms charges include 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Penalties for each of the fraud charges could carry a penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Jackson is also named for being involved in narcotics trafficking and marijuana transportation.
Among other locations raided Wednesday was a single-family home in San Mateo on 42nd Avenue and Alameda De Las Pulgas.
A moving van was seen at the home as workers removed several boxes. A number of high-capacity lighting fixtures were seen in the garage of the home.
“Hundreds of officers are involved in this,” San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS, who described the operation as ‘massive.’
FBI officers confirmed there are a number of jurisdictions involved but emphasized that there is no ongoing threat to public safety.