Two years before a Chinatown gangster was found shot in the head in a minivan on a lonely Mendocino County road, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned him that Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow might order him killed, according to testimony Wednesday from federal court.
Prosecutors said that man, Jimmy Tat Kong, was ordered killed by Chow, while defense attorneys argued evidence points to another man being responsible for the killing.
Earlier testimony in the racketeering and murder trial of Chow noted that Chinatown gangster Kong was in a feud with Chow over the leadership of a fraternal organization, the Hop Sing Tong. Federal prosecutors say tongs are also fronts for criminal activity. Since 2006 Chow has headed the Ghee Kung Tong.
In 2013 Kong was found shot dead in a mini-van with his girlfriend. He had allegedly been running marijuana growing operations in Northern California.
Prosecutors have been laying a foundation for this alleged crime during several days of testimony from undercover FBI agents and other law enforcement in Judge Charles Breyer’s federal courtroom.
In a taped conversation from December 2011, which was played in court, an undercover FBI agent known as David Jordan caught Chow explaining a dispute he was having with Kong, who was trying to take over another tong and was pushing around elders in the process.
Chow and several associates, one of them armed, went to the Hop Sing Tong meeting, which was being watched that December 2011 day by members of the gang task force.
“Jim come up here,” said Chow about the meeting on a wiretap played in court. “He [Kong] got a bulletproof vest…They were packing pistol.”
Chow said he wasn’t afraid and spoke against Kong, and spoke to the members.
According to Jordan, Chow ended up denouncing the man before members of the Hop Sing Tong by telling tong members that he was no longer his brother and had slept with another tong member’s wife.
“Mr. Chow said as soon as he’s kicked out of the Hop Sing Tong he’s done,” said Jordan. “That meant that Jimmy Tat Kong’s life was in danger. Somebody was going to kill him.”
As soon as this conversation was over, said Jordan, the FBI got word to Kong that he was in danger.
In another taped conversation around that same time Chow said: “The last a time somebody challenged him was five years ago and he dropped him.”