Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Death Penalty in ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow Case

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The United States will not seek the death penalty on murder charges added to the racketeering indictment against Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow earlier this month.

The U.S. Attorney's office filed its intent not to seek the death penalty in Federal Court on Monday.

Federal prosecutors say Chow assumed leadership of the Chinese fraternal organization, the Ghee Kung Tong, after orchestrating the murder of its leader, businessman Allen Lueng, in 2006.

Lueng was shot dead in front of Chinatown import-export shop over an unpaid debt, federal prosecutors say.

Charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder were added in a revised indictment on Oct. 16.

The indictment also claims that between 2011 and 2013, Chow encouraged the killing of Jim Tat Kong, a former friend and fellow member of the Hop Sing Tong gang. Kong, whom Chow accused of sleeping with another friend's wife and trying to take over the gang, was found dead on Oct. 17, 2013.

Chow faces charges of running the Ghee Kung Tong as a criminal enterprise that trafficked guns, laundered money and sold drugs and stolen goods. He was rounded up along with 27 other defendants, including former state Sen. Leland Yee, in a raid on March 2014 as part of a five-year undercover FBI investigation into political corruption and racketeering.

Yee ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, and all other charges against him were dropped.

Kwok Gheung "Shrimp Boy" Chow, 55, born in Hong Kong, served seven years in prison for a 1978 robbery conviction. The year after he was released, he was charged with 28 criminal counts, many involving violence or attempted violence, and served three more years.

In 1992 he was arrested again on racketeering charges, and was sentenced to 24 years in 1995. He got out early after testifying against his former boss.

Chow refused to take a plea deal in July.

Jury selection in Chow's criminal trial is set to begin on Nov. 2, and the trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 9.

The one-page filing by federal prosecutors offered no insight into the government's decision not to seek the death penalty against Chow.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.