SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The alleged getaway driver for the 2006 murder of a businessman testified Thursday that Chinatown crime boss Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow had ordered the hit.
Chow is accused of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. On Thursday, Kam Wong told the federal jury what he knew about the 2006 murder of businessman Allen Leung.
Wong, 36, said that in December 2005 fellow Hop Sing Tong member Raymond Lei asked him to kill "one of our elders," whom Kam presumed to be Leung.
Leung was shot dead on Feb. 27, 2006 in his import-export shop on Jackson Street in San Francisco's Chinatown. Earlier Thursday, the jury saw unsettling crime scene photos and video of Leung's shop, depicting a trail of blood ending in Leung's body crumpled on the floor, shoeless and facedown, blood pooling from the side of his ashen face.
Leung had been dragon head of the Chinese fraternal organization Ghee Kung Tong, a group affiliated with the Hop Sing Tong, and to which Hop Sing members pay respect. Chow succeeded Leung as dragon head in 2006, and also headed Hop Sing.
Chow is credited with getting the Hop Sing Tong back together after it fell apart in the late 1990s, and was feuding with Leung over $100,000 Chow wanted to open a martial arts studio. Kam testified that Chow was angry at Leung, an elder in Hop Sing, for blocking the promotions of younger Hop Sing members, generally seen as the criminal element in the Tong.
Wong said that he refused to do the hit because he was working at a construction site near Leung's shop and feared he would be recognized. Besides, he said, "I didn't feel too right, doing it to one of our elders."
Wong was no stranger to killing. In December 2005 he walked into Geneva Pub in San Francisco's Crocker Amazon district and put three bullets into a man Lei had ordered him to kill.
He said Lei had approached him that evening at the karaoke bar Kabuki in Japantown, and asked him to "take care of someone." Wong didn't ask why, he just knew his target would be wearing red. After he did the job, he said, he drove to Oakland, disassembled his 9mm Beretta and threw the parts in the estuary off Jack London Square.
On Feb. 26, 2006, he said, he was ordered to drive a Chicagoan named Bong Jiu and another Hop Sing member named Dai So to Chow's apartment in San Francisco's Sunset neighborhood. The three of them talked privately, then Wong drove them back to Oakland. The next day, Wong picked up Jiu and So and drove them to San Francisco. Both were wearing dark jackets and So wore a black beanie.
They stopped in Chinatown for lunch, which Wong thought was strange. "I was wondering, why we come to Chinatown? This guy came from Chicago where they have their own Chinatown, so what's the difference between that Chinatown and our Chinatown?"
After lunch, Wong said, he assumed he had to take them back to Oakland, but as he approached Jackson Street, So told him to turn right. They parked and sat for half an hour. The other two got out and Wong waited in the car. He watched them disappear into the rain. A few minutes later, they got back in and told Wong to drive.
As Wong crossed the Bay Bridge back to Oakland, he watched So dismantle a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, then throw the parts out the window into the bay. Wong said nothing. He told the jury, "The less I know, the lesser chance of me getting killed too."
So disappeared in New York for two months. Wong found out later that Leung was dead.
Shortly after his Feb. 27 mission in Chinatown, Wong said, he met with Chow at his office in Oakland. Chow was complaining about someone named James who was opposing his bid to become dragon head of the Ghee Kung Tong. Chow asked Wong to slap James at the next Tong meeting.
Wong agreed, then decided to ask Chow about Leung. "I asked him why did our elder get killed? I was just curious what he say since he already telling me to go slapping people and doing things for him," Wong told the jury. "Basically there was a trust level there already, so I felt I could ask him the question."
Wong told the jury in Cantonese how Chow replied. Translated, Chow said: "Sometimes we have to step on the bodies of our brothers in order to go up."
When asked how he interpreted Chow's response, Wong said: "Whoever is in his way he can knock him down and use his body as a stepping stone to go up to a higher position. That was it."
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