U.S. News

San Francisco gangster 'Shrimp Boy' guilty on all counts

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow was found guilty on dozens of charges on Friday including ordering the murder of a Chinatown rival, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman said.

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The jury found Chow guilty on all counts, Justice Department spokesman Abraham Simmons said, over allegations that he ran a San Francisco criminal organization that dealt drugs and laundered money.

Tony Serra, a lawyer for Chow, said his defense team was in a state of “pain and anguish” after the verdict, particularly because the government relied on several witnesses who pleaded guilty to crimes themselves.

“It was trial by snitch, and the jury somehow believed these snitches,” Serra said.

Chow was accused of being the so-called dragonhead of Chinatown’s Chee Kung Tong, a Chinese fraternal organization that federal agencies suspect has a criminal component, according to an indictment.

U.S. prosecutors contended Chow ordered the 2006 murder of Chee Kung Tong official Allen Leung in Leung’s import/export shop in a dispute over money, according to court filings.

During trial a prosecutor told jurors that Chow ordered Leung’s death and led other criminal activity “like something straight out of ‘The Godfather.’” In addition to witnesses, the government played several recorded conversations for the jury in which Chow accepted money from an undercover FBI agent for purported illegal activity.

Chow was arrested in 2014 with several others including Leland Yee, a former Democratic state senator who has pleaded guilty to racketeering.

Chow is a longtime fixture in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In 2000 he testified against his former gang and served a prison sentence.

Chow’s lawyers have said that he reformed after his release from prison but prosecutors have said that he assumed power in Chinatown and directed criminal activity.

Serra said he expected an appeal of Friday’s verdict, and that Chow was calm. “His words to me were, in essence, ‘We’ll win on the second round,’” Serra said.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Bill Trott and Grant McCool