Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow started young. The alleged Chinatown don — currently on trial in federal court for crimes including murder for hire and extortion — committed his first crime at age 8, “cut somebody up” at 9, and by 12 had “experienced” his first prostitute.
Uncharacteristically garrulous for an alleged mobster on trial, Chow freely admitted to all of the above during three days of testimony while on the stand in his ongoing trial — along with much, much more.
Here are some highlights from his testimony.
On life after prison in 2003, after he was released in exchange for flipping on former associate Peter Chong:
I put in a request, I want to go down to the water by myself, Great Highway by the Sunset by the beach over there, I start to do my meditation and try to open my heart, try not to think about my fear. I have to survive in this town. I know the street … I'm very good with jailhouse politics, I used to run the jail, they have a riot, they come to talk to me and ask my opinion. I sell drugs inside the prison, I did all that. I'm able, when I got out this time [in 2003], I put all that behind.
On meeting the undercover FBI agent Jimmy Chen:
I thought he just interested in my life story. We sit down and we talk about a lot of different subject, business, making easy money. My main focus, if he is a producer, I try to sell myself to him, I want him to get to know me.
On his taxpayer-funded dinner with undercover FBI agent David Jordan:
They hand me the menu and I don't know how to read and write, they just point out to me the steak is right there, I usually order the steak … They ask me how I want it, medium rare, and how many ounce, give me a pound. They order the wine, the wine is about $200, very expensive wine, he very particular wine drinker. We have nice meal, everybody order lobster and steak, when the check come he look at the check and then I find out the steak is $42 an ounce, and that was very awesome. Wow!
On making it in San Francisco as an honest man:
To my knowledge, my skill, I wouldn't be broke ass trying to struggle in the city. I been struggling all these years because I try to stay away from all this. I have been dealing with people who try to hurt me out there, I deal with it, I have to show power in front of them, I got to show them, “Yeah I still in the city,” I still have all their respect in the community, I have people in the Broadway Street just walk up to me … and tell me [guy] gonna kill me, I got to deal with them.
On the crimes he did commit while “reformed”:
Let me clear up something. I get a party, sometime I snort a couple bump, I don't know if you consider that illegal but for me it's very normal just for a party. It's normal to me.
On the $60,000 Chow allegedly received from the FBI agents over three years:
If I'm in illegal business, I can make that within a day, I can make $1 million in a week … I cut all that off. I'm not involved in illegal business no more, that's why I don't make no money.
On whether he knowingly introduced various criminals to each other:
I never introduce anyone to do any crime. People offer me drug, different business opportunity … they call me, they offer me back in the business, they want me back in the business, I tell them no … I put a lot of people together, and they get to know each other, for the good time, party.
On sharing a maxim of “You fuck around, you gone” with the undercover agent:
“You fuck around, you gone,” very common. That's after Allen Leung passed, died. We were sitting in here talking about some other people. This man carry recording me, all the conversation you heard, I never had anything to do with the murder myself … This conversation, we talk about the nature of the street, how I used to be, in 1992, before that. What I'm talking about at that time, the past, how I handle business, that's how I carry myself. It has nothing [to do] with today. After 2003, I do not do those things no more.