A federal judge in San Francisco set an Aug. 4 sentencing date Thursday for Chinatown tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow on murder and racketeering charges.
Chow, 56, the leader of the Chee Kung Tong fraternal association, was convicted in January of 162 organized-crime charges, including racketeering conspiracy and the 2006 murder in aid of racketeering of his predecessor as tong leader.
The murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.
Other charges on which Chow was convicted by a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer were conspiring to murder another rival, money laundering and conspiring to transport stolen liquor and cigarettes across state lines.
Breyer scheduled the sentencing date after issuing a pair of brief orders denying two final post-trial motions by Chow’s lawyers.
In a one-paragraph ruling, Breyer turned down a defense bid for dismissal of the charges on grounds of outrageous government conduct.
Chow’s lawyers, including veteran defense attorney Tony Serra, argued in a filing that undercover FBI agents created crimes such as money laundering and transport of purportedly stolen goods and encouraged Chow and other tong members to participate.
Prosecutors contended in response that Chow and his associates were “ready, willing, able and even eager to engage in criminal conduct.” Breyer said in his ruling that he had considered the evidence and the filings and was denying the motion “for the reasons stated in the government’s opposition and response briefs.”
The judge also turned down Chow’s motion for reconsideration of Chow’s claim that Breyer should have disqualified himself from the case.
In an earlier 33-page decision on June 2, Breyer rejected Chow’s bid for a new trial on grounds of alleged errors in pretrial and trial proceedings.
Also in June, Breyer refused to allow Serra and fellow defense attorney Tyler Smith to withdraw from the case, but permitted attorney Curtis Briggs to do so. All three lawyers asked for permission to withdraw because of confidential irreconcilable differences.
Chow was one of 29 people indicted in 2014 following a five-year FBI probe that also ensnared former state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, on unrelated corruption charges.
Yee and his fundraiser, political consultant Keith Jackson, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and were sentenced by Breyer to five years and nine years in prison, respectively. Investigators were led to Yee through Jackson, who worked with both the senator and the tong.