By David Amoruso
Posted on April 18, 2009
Copyright © www.gangstersinc.nl
Peter Chong was one of the most powerful Triad bosses in the United States. His word was law on the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown. But after trying to merge all the Chinese crime gangs in the United States into one large crime group with him as leader, things came crashing down.
Chong came to the United States in 1982. He wanted to establish a Chinese opera company, but authorities allege he was sent to the US by the powerful Wo Hop To Triad to oversee its interests there. It seems authorities were correct, because it wasn’t long before Chong started leading the Wo Hop To in San Francisco. The Wo Hop To were involved in gambling and extortion and ruled the city with an iron fist. Its members were allowed to eat for free in any restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, such was the fear law abiding citizens had for this crime group.
Under Chong the Wo Hop To started expanding and adding smaller Chinese gangs to its organization. One of the gangs Chong joined forces with was the Hop Sing Tong, led by Raymond Chow. These mergers caused a lot of unrest among other gangs whose members had no interest in becoming underlings of Peter Chong.
One of those gangs was the Wah Ching, led by Danny Wong. The Wah Ching was responsible for kicking Raymond Chow’s Hop Sing Tong gang out of San Francisco a decade earlier, so this was not just business, it was personal.
The Wo Hop To decided to send Wong a message by killing his bodyguard. Wong replied in typical manner by having his men shoot up a car that was filled with members of the Wo Hop To, killing two and wounding eight.
As tension grew, Wong decided the fighting was only causing the groups trouble. To stop the war he offered to meet with Chong. Both men attended a banquet with other leaders from both gangs, where peace was declared. But Chong was playing a devious game. He still wanted Wong out of the way. And what Chong wanted done, was done, no discussion. A year after toasting to a peaceful future, Wong was found with a bullet in his head. Chong had taken over San Francisco and there were no more gangs that stood in his way. It was time to start looking beyond California.
Peter Chong and his underboss Raymond Chow were now running a vast criminal enterprise which was involved in drug smuggling, extortion, gambling, and loan sharking. But their operations were based in California and the two men were eager to take their organization to a national level.
In the early 1990s, Chong and Chow invited Wayne Kwong to join the Wo Hop To/Hop Sing Tong brotherhood. Kwong was the leader of the On Leong Tong based in Boston. His underlings were involved in loan sharking, extortion, and drug distribution in the Chinatown section of Boston.
Chong and Chow told Kwong about their plans for a national syndicate called “Tien Ha Wui" or "Whole Earth Association". This syndicate would be comprised of all the Asian gangs in the United States, and would be led by Peter Chong. The three men felt they were untouchable. Combining their mighty groups would enable them to make a lot of money. But law enforcement was already trying to bring the group down. Raymond Chow was heavily involved in arranging drug deals for the group. In one such deal, he ran into trouble when he made a deal to buy $100,000 worth of cocaine from an undercover DEA agent.
In 1992, the indictments came down. But the main target of authorities had managed to flee. Peter Chong was already in Hong Kong. His Whole Earth Association was falling apart though. His underboss was arrested and looking at serious prison time. And Wayne Kwong decided to cooperate with authorities and testify against his former ‘brothers’. It wasn’t until 2000 when Chong was finally extradited to the US. There he was looking at yet another turncoat witness: his underboss, Raymond Chow.
After an eight-week trial in 2002, Chong was found guilty of racketeering, murder-for-hire, extortion, and arson, and was sentenced to fifteen years and eight months in prison. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned his conviction, saying there was not enough evidence of a murder-for-hire plot. But a judge would sentence him to eleven and a half years on the remaining charges. According to the Bureau of Prisons, Peter Chong (65) was released from prison on July 29, 2008.