A former Chinatown organized crime figure reportedly arrested this morning in a sweep that also targeted Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has received awards in the past from California elected officials.
An avowed former soldier in the San Francisco-based Hop Sing Tong gang, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow served time in prison after being convicted on gun trafficking charges. He was released early for providing testimony that helped bring down alleged Chinese organized crime boss Peter Chong.
Chow has publicly distanced himself from his criminal past since then, winning an award in 2012 for former offenders who have since become assets to their community. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, issued a statement in 2012 recognizing Chow and other honorees.
Also in 2012, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, bestowed a "change agent" award upon Chow, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee gave Chow an award recognizing his "willingness to give back to the community."
"We celebrate your tenacity and your exceptional service as a valued member of our community," the certificate from Ammiano says. "Your efforts to turn your life around and help others to do the same have been an inspiration to us all."
In a statement, Ammiano said the plaudit came in response to a San Francisco organizations' request.
"One of the ceremonial aspects of being in the Assembly is providing recognition to people in the district at the request of respected community organizations," Ammiano said. "It appears that my office provided such a recognition to Raymond Chow as a 'change agent' at the request of the Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services organization. The group acknowledged Chow's efforts at reform and helping others. That is all there is to it."
Updated at 12:57 p.m. to include Assemblyman Ammiano's response.
PHOTO: A screenshot from the Facebook page of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow shows him posing with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.