After a five year investigation by the FBI, San Francisco organized crime boss Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow was indicted on Friday for the murder of his crime syndicate predecessor.
The investigation also resulted in charges against former California Senator Leland Yee for taking bribes. Yee pled guilty to the offenses in a plea agreement.
The new charge relates to the 2013 murder of Jim Tat Kong. Chow was previously charged with the murder of Allen Leung. Leung’s death allowed Chow to assume leadership of the Ghee Kung Tong organization, a Chinese American community group, based in San Francisco, that is suspected of being a front for illegal activity.
Chow was already the target of accusations claiming that he was using Ghee Kung Tong to cover his drug and weapons trafficking, in addition to allegations of racketeering. His history of criminal activity goes back decades, including a period where he acted as leader of the U.S. branch of the Wo Hop To gang, one of the most powerful triad organizations in Hong Kong.
Chow had attained the position of “dragon head” at the Ghee Kung Tong organization, the highest position possible. The word “tong” translates to “social club” and groups like Ghee Kung Tong were formed among immigrant communities in the late 19th century. Partly because they were common among marginalized members of the immigrant community, they became involved in criminal activity.
Chow has claimed reformation from his previous criminal life, and his presence at Allen Leung’s funeral while wearing a white suit was offered as evidence of this. As stated by Chow’s defense attorneys, “The white suit he wore was a sign of humility and respect, and it was his combination of life experiences and his well-known reformation that caused the elders of the community [who] asked him to be Dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong.”
The defense has also pointed to evidence provided by an FBI informant that both exonerates Chow and points to the now-deceased Kong as the culprit.