Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the purportedly reformed Chinatown gangster arrested in a March raid tied to the Leland Yee corruption case, plans to ask federal court for a pretrial release this week.
“Raymond Chow should be granted pretrial release, subject to whatever conditions the court deems necessary, to ensure his appearance and the safety of the community,” states a memorandum filed this week by Chow's lawyers, Tony Serra, Curtis Briggs, and Gregory Bentley.
The memo, addressed to Judge Laurel Beeler of the US District Court, argues that Chow is a reformed man who has worked to better the community, and that his relatively minor charges pale in comparison with other defendants who have been released yet were charged with more serious crimes.
So far, notes the memo, 14 of the 20 defendants arrested March 26 have been released on bail. Notably Keith Jackson the former school board president who faces charges much more serious than Chow. Jackson faces charges that include a murder for hire scheme and dealing firearms without a license.
Chow has only been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and selling stolen liquor, said the memo.
The memo says that Chow is not a danger to the community – a Chinese citizen, Chow has long been fighting for permanent residence in the U.S. where much of his family lives – illustrates his path to reform.
“During this ten-year prison term he became thoroughly disenchanted with the criminal lifestyle. His revelation occurred when the façade of the gangster life disintegrated as each and every one of his criminal associates, people who he thought of as 'brothers,' turned their back on him and participated in activities which blatantly harmed the community,” said the memo.
Still, the lengthy FBI affidavit in the case painted another picture. Specifically, it showed Chow consorting with people involved in criminal activity from which he repeatedly received cash gifts. Much of that activity, according to the FBI affidavit, was centered on Ghee Kung Tong.
The memo disagrees, pointing out that the Tong was exactly the opposite of what the FBI has painted it as. Instead it is a benevolent society who's aim is to better the life of people in the community. When Chow was asked to lead the group after the violent death of its former leader, he accepted the honor.