Either six according to the Chronicle or five according to ABC7 of eight co-defendants in the Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow case scheduled for trial next month have today pleaded guilty, catching prosecutors by surprise and perhaps complicating matters for Chow and almost certainly changing his trial date.

The defendants face between five and 20 years in prison for the charges to which they've admitted, which include money-laundering and trafficking drugs and stolen goods. Chow faces a much longer and more serious sentence.

One defendant possibly implicated Chow, but Curtis Briggs, an attorney for Chow, who has insisted that he will not enter a guilty plea, maintains that his client was absent from the recent admissions of guilt. Further, “The government’s racketeering theory just lost all credibility,” he said.

16 suspected members of the Ghee Kung Tong, led by Chow since 2006, are currently awaiting trial. In July, four defendants in a case related to the federal snare, including former state Senator Leland Yee, pleaded guilty to corruption, firearms, and other charges.

Chow's defense team has recently released a bunch of federal documents that suggest some (at least implied) shady dealings and pay-to-play talk in City Hall, in an effort to argue for selective prosecution of Chow. But so far it does not look like that tactic is going to yield Chow any leeway, and in August a judge rejected his attorney's attempt to get the case dismissed.

Previously: The Feds Spent Over $1 Million Wining And Dining Shrimp Boy

All previous coverage of the Shrimp Boy case on SFist.