Will Shrimp Boy swim free?
Raymond Chow, the ex-convict widely known by his aquatic nickname, wriggled into public consciousness last month after being ensnared in a wide-ranging criminal investigation that also netted Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. Chow has been indicted on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic in cigarettes and conspiracy to transport stolen property.
According to an FBI affidavit, at one point an offer of campaign cash convinced Yee to issue a proclamation honoring the organization Chow ran, Yee's reservations notwithstanding ("He's still hot stuff," Yee allegedly said of Chow).
Since emerging from prison in 2005, his federal racketeering sentence curtailed thanks to having provided testimony on another alleged Chinatown crime figure, Chow has publicly proclaimed himself a changed man, renouncing his former life of crime and persuading others he had reformed.
His attorneys seem prepared to make a similar argument. They've organized a Thursday afternoon press conference in San Francisco in which they'll likely argue, per a press release, that Chow was a victim of "outrageous government behavior, entrapment, and racism."
"Shrimp Boy, released from prison seven years ago, made a religious vow that he would never again violate the law: and he has not! Presume him innocent," the press release reads.
Some attendees will be wearing red t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Free Shrimp Boy."
Chow is quoted maintaining his innocence throughout the FBI affidavit. One of the exchanges, between Chow and an associate since indicted on a range of money laundering and criminal conspiracy charges:
Chow: "How am I hanging out with outlaws like this?"
Associate: "You are an outlaw too."
Chow: "I'm innocent, I don't have no knowledge of the crimes you commit to pay for my meal, that is very bad."
Followed by: "I'm still eating though. I'm hungry."
PHOTO: An image of the t-shirts to be worn on Thursday, April 10. Provided by Pier 5 Law Offices.