As the first two undercover FBI agent testified in the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow trial, new court filings related to the case shed light on the killing of a man in Mendocino County and raise questions about federal prosecutors’ contention that Chow ordered that killing.
Chow has been charged with racketeering for allegedly heading a Chinatown organized crime group as well as conspiring to kill two men: Allen Leung and Jimmy Tat Kong.
The filings, concerning a separate drug case that resulted from an investigation into Asian organized crime, allege that an Oakland man, Wing Wo Ma, “is also believed to be involved in the double homicide of Kong and Cindy Chen.”
Ma, 49, a defendant in the federal drug case, was allegedly an associate of Kong in his alleged illegal pot growing activities in Mendocino County, where Kong was found shot dead October 2013.
The separate filing comes from a case charging a group of men with conspiracy to grow marijuana. The case affidavit written by Special Agent David Vanderporten, who was also involved in the Chow case, notes that those five men worked with Kong growing marijuana in Northern California.
The filing, not given to the defense team until now, indicates that Kong had been feuding with Bay Area gangsters as well as Ma himself, but says that no evidence that Ma was Kong’s killer has arisen.
The charges against Ma could raise further doubt over whether Chow was involved in the killings, Chow’s defense team argued.
“Kong was known to be extremely active in the Hop Sing Tong prior to his death,” noted the filing. “This investigation has gathered conversations, both consensually and through court-authorized interception, that have included discussions regarding Kong’s position within the Hop Sing Tong as well as speculation regarding who is responsible for Kong’s murder. None of these conversations, however, have gathered any evidence relating to Ma’s participation in Kong’s murder.”
But the filing still alleges that Ma and Kong were in dispute because of a money issue having to do with their illegal marijuana growing operations in Redwood Valley. During that same time Ma, as a confidential source, was handing Alameda Sheriff Department information about Kong and his grow houses.
“Kong had been involved in ‘ripping people off,’” Ma told his law enforcement handlers, according to the filings. “Kong had been spending more time in Mendocino County because he was in bad standing with some very powerful Chinese gangsters in the Bay Area.”
The filing notes that Ma himself can’t be trusted, and added that he may be using his connection as a source to law enforcement to “minimize Ma’s involvement and knowledge of Kong and Chen and the resulting murder.”
Despite these issues, as well as the contention that no evidence exists connecting Ma to the killing, Ma told one law enforcement source exactly where the pair was killed.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Detective Justin Miguel said Ma showed him a map where the killing of Kong and Chen occurred.
“It should be noted that Ma was describing precisely the location where Jim Kong and Cindy Chen were murdered, the Bark Dumps at 30100 Highway 20,” said the affidavit.
The filings also further illustrate the beef between Ma and Kong.
“At some point there was an argument between Ma and Kong where Kong accused Ma of skimming rent money,” said the filing.
In testimony from the Chow trial, Chow allegedly called out Kong in a Hop Sing Tong meeting, saying that he was sleeping with a tong member’s wife. Chow also allegedly tried to prevent Kong from gaining a position of power in the Hop Sing Tong.
Another Kong associate, Eric Zhen, said that Ma and Kong were not getting along on Oct. 16, 2013, the day before the killing.
Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink