An undercover federal agent who went by the name David Jordan and posed as a member of the New Jersey mafia was one of several to infiltrate Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow's secretive circle according to court documents reported on by the Examiner. To gain honorary entry to the Ghee Kung Tong, "Jordan" bought drugs and weapons under that alias from alleged Chow strong arm Kongphet “Fat Joe” Chanthavong. Last week, "Fat Joe" offered his testimony in the ongoing trial of Chow, the "dragonhead" of the Ghee Kung Tong, which accuses the alleged criminal kingpin of wielding the tong as a racketeering enterprise that dealt in drugs, guns, and occasionally, death.
But Jordan's real identity will remain a mystery as he and other undercover agents — perhaps as many as 11, the number of confidential sources according to documents in the case — take the stand this week. At least one is scheduled to testify today.
According to the Chronicle, US District Judge Charles Breyer granted prosecutors' request on Friday to close his courtroom to the press and public this week. That doesn't mean the proceedings will be mysterious. Members of the media and casual observers can still watch closely over video, which will be presented elsewhere in the courthouse with agents' faces obscured.
According to the prosecution, the government is merely seeking “reasonable, limited measures solely to protect the safety and security of its (agents), who ... may continue to be engaged in undercover activities” in other cases. Though the defense disagrees with Breyer's decision, their objections have been overruled.
Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition in San Francisco, also offered his dissent. “We’re compromising the public’s and the press’ right, under the First Amendment, to be not only present at the proceedings but to have enough access to the relevant evidence ... to be able to know whether the trial is being conducted in a reasonably fair way,” Scheer said.