Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the 56-year-old crime boss who ruled San Francisco’s Chinatown, was found guilty of murder, racketeering, and conspiracy to murder yesterday. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 23. Chow was among 29 people, including a former California state senator, busted in an undercover operation by the FBI targeting the Ghee Kung Tong.
The FBI had one of its agents pose as an Italian American mobster in order to get close to Chow and get him involved in criminal dealings. This proved more difficult than the bureau at first had imagined. Chow claimed he had said farewell to his life of crime after his release from prison in 2003.
One would tend to believe him. He was released because he had agreed to testify against his own boss, Peter Chong, after both men had been rounded up in a large-scale nationwide Triad bust. Usually, criminals who testify against their former colleagues do not go back to their old haunts.
Chow, however, went straight back to San Francisco’s Chinatown and quickly emerged as the new – very public - leader of the Ghee Kung Tong, the city’s premier Triad organization, after its former leader was gunned down in his office by a masked gunman.
The FBI took notice and began plotting a takedown. Gangsters Inc. reveals all the ins and outs of this investigation, as well as Chow’s life, in The Rat who became King: Triad boss Raymond Chow.
In a weird twist of irony, Chow’s lawyer condemned the guilty verdict, claiming that “this trial was based on testimony of five snitches that no rational human being would believe or extend credibility to.”
Peter Chong would no doubt call it karma.
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