‘Shrimp Boy’ Retrial Rejected

There will be no retrial for Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who was convicted in January of running the Chee Kung Tong as a racketeering enterprise and murdering its former leader in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer denied a new trial request by Chow’s lawyers Thursday, rejecting all 20 arguments they pressed, including a claim the government breached a 2002 immunity agreement by using his statements about the murder of his former boss Peter Chong to discredit him at trial.

The high profile case snared former state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. The government charged in 2014 that Chow and 26 others had turned the group into a racketeering enterprise that engaged in intimidation, threats and money laundering, trafficking in firearms and murder.

Chow, once praised as a reformed gang leader by San Francisco politicians following his 2003 prison release, was convicted of ordering the killing of the head of the Chee Kung Tong, Allen Leung, clearing the way for Chow to assume power as “Dragonhead” of the group.

He was also convicted of conspiracy to murder a rival, Jim Tat Kong, five counts of trafficking in stolen alcohol and cigarettes and 154 counts of money laundering.  He faces a mandatory life prison term.

Breyer also rejected Chow’s argument that the judge should have stepped off the case based on an alleged conflict of interest. The defense asserted Breyer’s wife serves as director of the city’s non-profit City Arts and Lectures program, which received an annual grant of $50,000 from Mayor Lee’s budget allowance.

Chow’s failed retrial bid included arguments that the judge was “disrespectful” in treatment of defense counsel in front of the jury creating prejudice against Chow.  A claim of juror misconduct for allowing a juror to remain on the panel for weeks after a report that he made inappropriate statements about the case to his sister was also rejected.

As for the government’s purported breach of the 2002 immunity agreement, the defense argument Breyer wrongly allowed prosecutors to question him about alleged involvement in the 1991 murder of Danny Wong, which Chow had described to agents in 2002 as part of a plea deal.

Breyer ruled that Chow’s lawyers had “opened the door” to use of the information by telling jurors that he was not the kind of person who would order a murder.

Case: U.S. v. Chow, No. 14-196

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