SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday upheld the conviction of former Chinatown tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow for the murder of his predecessor as tong chief, racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.
Chow, 59, also known as Kwok Chow, was convicted in 2016 of 162 organized-crime counts and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco to life in prison.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his appeal claim that he should have been given the identities of two undercover FBI agents who testified against him in his two-month trial.
The judges said prosecutors had shown them confidential evidence “strongly suggesting that disclosure of the agents’ identities would threaten their safety.”
The court also upheld Breyer’s decision to close the courtroom when the agents testified, while allowing the public to view a live video in another courtroom that showed the testimony with the agents’ faces hidden.
The panel additionally turned down Chow’s claim that prosecutors should not have been allowed to give the jury evidence that in a 2000 plea agreement in a previous case, he admitted participating in ordering several murders.
The court said the federal prosecutors brought up Chow’s previous admission only after he falsely testified from the stand in Breyer’s court that he was not involved in any previous murders.
“We refuse to adopt an interpretation of Chow’s plea agreement that would allow him to testify falsely at his criminal trial without fear of impeachment,” the court said.
Chow was convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory life sentence, for ordering the slaying of Chee Kung Tong leader Allen Leung, who was fatally shot by a masked gunman in his Chinatown business office in San Francisco in February 2006.
Six months later, Chow became the leader or “dragonhead’ of the tong. Prosecutors claimed he then led a criminal faction of the fraternal group in an organized crime enterprise.
Chow was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to murder another rival, five counts of conspiring to receive and transport stolen liquor and cigarettes across state lines, and 154 counts of money laundering.
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