Former Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow pleaded not guilty Wednesday to an expanded federal racketeering, gunrunning and bribery indictment that swept up a state senator among 28 people indicted.
Chow was arrested in March along with suspended State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, following an undercover FBI investigation that including charges of firearms dealing, a murder for hire plot, money laundering, narcotics deals and a conspiracy to transport stolen property.
The new expanded indictment provided new details into the alleged racketeering conspiracy. It accused Chow of leading a Chinese-American organization Gee Kung Tong, or Chee Kung Tong, also known as Supreme Lodge Chinese Freemasons of the World.
Federal prosecutors allege the CKT began in the late 1800s originally and had roots in Hung Mun societies in China, which were formed to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in China. The Hung Mun societies formed new groups in America when members migrated from China and included CKT, according to the government.
The CKT was formed for civic purposes to benefit Chinese immigrants and protect them from racial abuse in America, according to the indictment. The CKT developed both positive legal community functions and more secretive criminal functions, the government alleges.
Members of CKT engaged in narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, illegal debt collection, murder for hire, money laundering, illegal firearms sale and obstruction of justice, the superseding indictment alleges.
Chow served time in prison in the 1980s and 1990s for robbery, assault, attempted murder and racketeering. According to his lawyer, Tony Serra, Chow left prison a changed man.
Yee Back in Court
Yee, who was due back in court Thursday to be arraigned on the additional charges, allegedly agreed to help undercover FBI agents buy assault weapons and rocket launchers in exchange for campaign donations.
The indictment also outlines a series of deals allegedly to accept money in exchange for political favors.
It charges that Yee and his campaign manager Keith Jackson solicited and received bribes related to medical marijuana legislation, to issue official proclamation to the Chee Kung Tong, and extorting professional sports teams in relation to passage of legislation limiting the ability of pro athletes to collect workers’ compensation for injuries.
Case: U.S. v. Chow, No. 14-CR-196CRB