SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison after his conviction on dozens of federal charges, including ordering the murder of a Chinatown rival, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman said.
The case against Chow was connected to a criminal sweep that ended the storied political career of a California state senator with allegations of bribery and gun-running.
In January, the jury found Chow guilty on all counts stemming from charges that he ran a criminal organization that dealt drugs and laundered money. He was sentenced to life in prison on two of more than 100 counts, Justice Department spokesman Abraham Simmons said.
Chow’s attorney, Matthew Dirkes, said Chow plans to appeal.
“Mr. Chow’s belief is that during the trial process he wasn’t afforded all of the rights that our system entitles criminal defendants to,” Dirkes said. “He by no means views this as the conclusion of anything and he absolutely maintains his innocence.”
Chow was accused of being the so-called dragonhead of Chinatown’s Chee Kung Tong, a Chinese fraternal organization that federal agencies suspect has a criminal component, according to an indictment.
U.S. prosecutors contended Chow ordered the 2006 murder of Chee Kung Tong official Allen Leung in Leung’s import/export shop in a dispute over money.
During trial a prosecutor told jurors that Chow ordered Leung’s death and led other criminal activity “like something straight out of ‘The Godfather’.”
In addition to witness testimony, the government played several recorded conversations for the jury in which Chow accepted money from an undercover FBI agent for purported illegal activity.
Chow was arrested in 2014 with several others including Leland Yee, a former Democratic state senator who pleaded guilty to racketeering. In February, Yee received a five-year prison sentence in the corruption case.
Chow is a longtime fixture in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In 2000 he testified against his former gang and served a prison sentence. His lawyers said he reformed after his release from prison but prosecutors alleged he assumed power in Chinatown and directed criminal activity.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Rigby)