It was 2006 when the Chron gracefully danced around Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow's role in the death of Chinese community leader Allen Leung. Nearly a decade later, what many have since implied is now being said outright, as the Justice Department Monday approved the addition of a murder charge to Chow's racketeering and conspiracy case, saying he was heard arranging Leung's murder.
When you have some time you should really read the full Chron piece from 2006 that detailed Leung's life and death, it's terrific. Relevant to our interests today:
Major figures from both Hop Sing and the Chinese Freemasons joined hundreds of mourners at Leung's funeral on March 18 in Chinatown. Fu-Mei Chang, a Taiwan cabinet minister, presented a posthumous medal honoring Leung's government service.
Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow was there, stocky with a shaved head, dressed in a white suit, a distinctive figure in a mass of black mourning attire. He was one of the few people called by name to bow before Leung's casket, a sign of honor.
Chow also filed up with the Chinese Freemasons. Before the group bowed, he bellowed exhortations in Chinese about heroes and heroism, a traditional Freemason salute. Then, the group bowed in unison.
He was there to pay respects to "Big Brother," he told Chinese reporters. He said he was saddened by Leung's death but declined to comment on the killing.
Fast-forward to March 26, 2014, and Chow was arrested after a massive, sweeping FBI probe of SF Chinatown organized crime — the same probe that took down former state Senator Leland Yee and a host of others.
Fast-forward again to early September, when eight of Chow's co-defendants suddenly and abruptly pleaded guilty. A few weeks later, rumors began to surface that prosecutors suddenly had enough evidence to finally and definitively link Chow to the crimes and on October 16, a new grand jury indictment added homicide charges "based on information attributed to former co-defendants who have pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Chow," the Chron reports.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer agreed to include the murder charges in Chow's upcoming trial for 140 counts of racketeering, money laundering, and conspiracy. According to a statement filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office yesterday, they will not be seeking the death penalty for Chow in Leung's slaying, pushing instead for life in prison without parole.
Despite what we can assume is upcoming testimony from a former co-defendant of Chow's who says he heard Shrimp Boy order Leung's murder, Chow continues to assert his innocence. Though the FBI spent over a million dollars wining and dining him in an effort to persuade him to break the law, he never did, he says.
‘‘It’s like they baked me this cake, this delicious cake, and tried to get me to eat it, even rubbed it in my face,’’ Chow said to the New York Times Magazine
"But I didn’t eat it. I stuck to my diet."
Chow's trial is scheduled to begin on November 9. According to a federal court clerk, jury selection in the case began yesterday.