SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A federal jury found Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow guilty Friday of conspiring to kill a San Francisco Chinatown crime rival, failing to be influenced by his witness stand plea that he was a changed man and had played no role in the slaying.
Chow stared straight ahead and showed no reaction as the initial verdicts were announced.
“He (Chow) was noble in acceptance of defeat,” said J. Tony Serra, Chow’s lead attorney, outside the courtroom. “We will prevail in the 2nd round (in appeals)… We are frustrated, agonized, and outraged. This trial was based on testimony of 5 snitches.”
Chow, who took the stand in his own defense during the two-month trial, was found guilty of arranging the 2006 murder of Allen Leung, the “dragonhead” or leader of the Ghee Kung Tong and 161 other counts. He faces a potential life sentence in federal prison.
Prosecutors told the jury that Chow took over a Chinese fraternal group with criminal ties after having Leung killed and ran an enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering and the sale of stolen cigarettes and alcohol.
The defense maintained Chow was innocent and that the government had failed to prove its case.
Federal prosecutor Susan Badger maintained in her closing argument that Chow was an unrepentant liar and mastermind behind an enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering and sales of stolen cigarettes and alcohol.
Serra said in his closing argument that the prosecution case was built on “shadows of evidence, the echoes of evidence.”
He derided the prosecution’s use of testimony from Chow’s alleged co-conspirators and an undercover federal agent who posed as a member of an East Coast crime syndicate during the four-year investigation.
“These are snakes,” Serra told jurors. “Would you believe a talking snake? You will not, no one will.”
Badger urged jurors to disregard claims that Chow was a changed man, saying deception was part of his nature.
“He is not the victim here,” Badger said during her nearly four-hour presentation. “He is not the world’s most misunderstood criminal.”
An undercover FBI agent testified that he spent hours with Chow and people connected to him at fancy restaurants and nightclubs, recording many of their conversations.
The agent, who testified under a pseudonym to protect his identity, said Chow tried to distance himself from any criminal activity during the probe but repeatedly accepted money after introducing the agent to money launderers.
The probe led to the indictment of more than two dozen people in 2014 and the racketeering conviction of state Sen. Leland Yee.
Yee pleaded guilty to a racketeering count in July alleging he accepted bribes from Chow’s associates and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10.
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