The indictment and trial of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow has been in the news since his arrest with more than 20 others in March 2014. For much of the pretrial, co-defendants, Leland Yee, a former state senator, and former school board member Keith Jackson, were the center of much public scrutiny.
Most of the other players in the case, meanwhile, were little noticed. Now that Yee and Jackson have pleaded guilty, and the case has focused on Chow and his organization, their roles and backstories have become central to the case.
Here is a rundown of the main players in the case, which is in the middle of testimony at U.S. District Court in San Francisco:
Ghee Kung Tong (GKT)
The more than 100-year-old fraternal organization has roots in Chinese triads, or Hung Mun, secret societies founded to overthrow the Qing emperors and put an ethnic Han Chinese back on the throne. Since then they have morphed into both multifaceted communal welfare organizations as well as underground criminal organizations.
Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow: Real name is Kwok Cheung Chow and is known in Cantonese as “Ha Jai.” The 55-year-old is originally from Hong Kong and moved to The City while he was in his teens.
Andy Li (aka Andy Man Lai Li, Andy M. Li): Chow’s former enforcer and right-hand man, the 40-year-old sports burn scars from an arson gone wrong that Chow allegedly ordered. Li was allegedly ordered by Chow to get close to an enemy — Jimmy Tat Kong — in order to kill him. The pair got into a drunken fight several years ago, which prompted Chow to expel Li from the GKT. Li told an undercover agent that he feared for his life after the incident. He is a co-defendant in the case and is expected to testify for the prosecution.
Kongphet “Joe” Chanthavong: The 36-year-old Thai citizen and San Francisco resident was a GKT honorary member before being expelled with Li. He testified that Chow ordered him to take part in the 2006 killing of Allen Yeung in Chinatown. Chanthavong allegedly sold guns to an undercover FBI agent and had numerous indoor pot grows across the Bay Area.
George Nieh (aka Heng Nieh or Ah Fei): Nieh, 44, was Chow’s driver and confidant. He told an undercover agent that he heads the 60-member street gang the Wah Ching. He often allegedly conducted business on Chow’s behalf with an undercover agent, David Jordan, playing the role of an East Coast gangster.
Kevin Siu (aka Dragon Tin Loon Siu): The 30-year-old Daly City resident was introduced to Jordan in order to launder money. Siu had a falling out with Chow sometime before their arrest in 2014.
Allen Leung: Former leader of the GKT, Leung refused to lend Chow tong money and told the FBI he feared that Chow was going to hurt him. Leung was shot dead inside his Jackson Street business in February 2006. He was a businessman and also a loan shark, according to the FBI. Federal prosecutors allege that Chow ordered Leung’s death, and now Chow faces charges for that alleged crime.
Jimmy Tat Kong: Found dead in a minivan in rural Mendocino County in October 2013, Kong is an alleged gangster who was running several illegal marijuana grow operations in that county. Chow had denounced him for allegedly sleeping with a Hop Sing Tong member’s wife and threatening elder tong members. Federal authorities allege that Kong was killed on Chow’s orders.
Cindy Bao Feng Chen: The-38-year-old San Francisco resident was found shot dead with Kong.
Peter Chong: A former associate of Chow who allegedly led the Wo Hop To organization, Chong came to San Francisco to expand the Hong Kong-based triad business. He recruited Chow, who helped him dominate the local criminal landscape. Chong was convicted in 2002 on racketeering charges with the help of testimony from Chow. As part of the deal, Chow was released from prison the next year.
David Jordan: A former military man who joined the FBI about a decade ago, he spent more than three years undercover, eating, drinking and ultimately breaking the law with Chow and his crew in order to catch them in the act. Using the alias David Jordan as part of his “myth,” he sold his story to Chow, saying he was the member of an Italian crime family from New Jersey sent West to manage the illegal gambling operation of the organization. He has been testifying in a closed courtroom in order to protect his identity.
Michael King: Another undercover using an alias, King said he was a Georgia business man looking for development deals in San Francisco. In that role, he approached everyone from Mayor Ed Lee to prominent members of the black community in the yearslong investigation into organized crime and political corruption in San Francisco.
Jimmy Chen: Originally the primary undercover agent in the investigation, Chen introduced Chow to Jordan on a fishing trip in Hawaii in 2010. Chen, also an alias, approached Chow, a purported businessman who put people with money to invest in touch with one another. He testified early in the trial about his role.