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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Shrimp Boy’s Attorney|Grills FBI Agent

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The federal judge in the racketeering trial of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow upbraided his attorney Monday, who spent seven hours grilling the undercover FBI agent who spent four years getting close to the former crime boss.

Attorney Curtis Briggs spent the day trying to discredit the agent, known as David Jordan, painting him as a criminal instigator who encouraged the murder of Chinatown gang member Jim Tat Kong.

Kong, who fell out of favor with Chow after trying to take over the Hop Sing Tong in 2011, was found shot to death in 2013.

Chow is on trial for running the Ghee Kung Tong, a long-established Chinese fraternal organization, as a criminal enterprise that trafficked in drugs, guns and stolen goods. He also is charged with ordering the murder of his GKT predecessor Allen Leung in 2006, and of conspiring in Kong's murder. If convicted he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Briggs pushed Jordan to admit he played a role in Kong's death, playing a tape of Jordan in a San Francisco nightclub discussing Kong with Andy Li, a Chow associate who had driven up from Los Angeles to "take care of the problem."

Calling Chow "Dai Lo," Cantonese for a respected elder and underworld slang for crime boss, Jordan told Li in the recording: "I worry about the Dai Lo because he's got some headaches with the HST [Hop Sing Tong]."

He added: "The Dai Lo is never going to ask anyone to do anything; you've just gotta fucking do it."

Briggs said in court: "Sounds like you're encouraging Andi Li to kill Jim Tat Kong."

Jordan replied: "He told me that was the reason why he was coming up."

"You're putting into his head that he's just got to go kill somebody," Briggs said.

Jordan said he was merely trying to gather information because he believed Kong's life had been threatened.

Briggs asked about the many cash payments Jordan made to Chow in the course of his nearly four-year investigation.

Jordan said he occasionally slipped Chow envelopes with $1,000 to $5,000 in cash, to repay him for introducing him to his criminal underlings, with whom Jordan laundered cash and brokered stolen liquor and cigarette deals.

"Why was it so important that he take that payment?" Briggs asked, intimating that Chow had been pressured to take the money, and had no idea it was connected to criminal doings.

Jordan said repeatedly that the only importance he saw in the exchanges was that Chow, who always resisted at first, would eventually pocket the cash.

"He knows the money is dirty, sir, and he's providing false exculpatory evidence and he's nervous," Jordan said.

As the proceeding wore on, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer grew increasingly exasperated with Briggs' line of questioning, and chastised him for asking argumentative and repetitive questions.

Briggs appeared equally frustrated, as Jordan, who had already been on the stand for four days under questioning from federal prosecutors, was unable to recall some details of his conversations with Chow and associates, many of which prosecutors have played for the jury.

Jordan's testimony was expected to conclude Tuesday, as Breyer urged Briggs to pare down his questions. "You're being, in my view, somewhat repetitive. So I think you should formulate your questions so they're not repetitive," Breyer said.

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