Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chinese Mafia

A Chinese Triad Funeral
This is a little different from the stories I normally blog about, but it is too good to pass up.  It has it all: Federal Agents Undercover as Sicilian drug dealers, a gun pedaling State Senator who wants more gun control and a one time snitch claiming to be reformed who is really a Mafia boss!  Hollywood could not have come up with  a story like this.

First a history lesson: the Cosa Nostra is at best 150 years old, but the Chinese Triads are over 400 years old.  

The Chee Kung Tong or CKT is a San Francisco based off-shoot of the Hung Mun which was formed in China in the mid 17th Century. It was started as a Revolutionary group to overthrow the Qing Dynasty that ruled China 1644 till 1911, so this is a long period to be fighting.   In the Mid to Late 19th Century the Hung Mun began to immigrate to the United States.  When they came, they brought with them their customs and rituals.  They formed secret societies that became known as Tongs in the US.  Some of these Tongs worked to help the Chinese in their communities, but many used their power to control vice such as prostitution, gambling, Loan Sharking and the importation of heroin.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow
The strongest was known as Chee Gung Tong or Chee Kung Tong and it would not really be looked at by Law Enforcement until 2006 when the former “Dragonhead” or Boss, Allen Leung. was murdered in San Francisco.  A Dragonhead holds what is known as a 489 position (dealing with Chinese Lucky Numbers) in the International Triads, which signifies supreme authority within the organization.

Let me introduce you to the Dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong today,  Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.  Known as Dai Lo or Big Brother to normal people on the street, Shrimp Boy holds the 489 position the Triad.  Shrimp Boy is, or was until recently, the leader of the Hop Sing Gang in San Fransisco's Chinatown with 200-300 members.  

According to Chow he joined a Triad in China at age 9.  A few years later, at 16, he would emigrate to San Fransisco where he would join a street gang. He would spend time in San Quentin for armed robbery and upon his release he would join the WoHop To Triad where he would run heroin distribution, prostitution and gambling for them during the 1980's.

He became right hand man to a man named  Peter Chong who was sent to unite the Triads all over the world.  In 1995 Shrimp Boy was given 24 years, but in 2000 Peter Chong was captured by the Chinese authorities and extradited to the US.  Shrimp Boy agreed to testify against him and when he was finished he was given a reduced sentence and released by 2003.  

Shrimp Boy has a long history of landing on his feet.  If anyone reading this has seen the movie “Year of the Dragon,” they will recognize the scene of this shooting that Shrimp boy was present for.  In the early morning hours of September 4, 1977, members of a Chinatown gang called The Joe Boys stormed into The Golden Dragon restaurant in San Francisco and opened fire with two semi automatic weapons and a shotgun.  They were after their enemy: the Wah Ching, who were aligned with the owners of the Golden Dragon, the Hip Sing Tong.  They would kill 5 people and wound 11 more, but Shrimp Boy was unhurt.

Senator Leland Yee
The Senator Aka Leland Yee, aka “Uncle” Leland, is a 65 year old California State Senator who represents district 8 which covers San Mateo and parts of San Francisco.
He once ran for Mayor of San Francisco and lost.  He was also running for Secretary of State.  Keith Jackson was a political consultant who was running Leland Yee's campaign for Secretary of State.  He was giving cash donations above the 500 dollar limits and one of these was from the Chee Kung Tong. Leland Yee would then present letters to the CKT.  He also agreed to help an Undercover Agent posing as a Arizona Medical Marijuana business owner who wanted to do business in California.
Keith Jackson then told the Undercover Agent that Leland Yee had a contact that was bringing in some illegal arms to through the Port of Newark in New Jersey.

Shrimp Boy receiving a "Certificate of Honor"
from Senator Yee, wearing his Triad Clothing
Leland Yee is one of the people who screamed very loud that we need strict gun laws such a bullet button ban.  The bullet button is a button that releases the magazine on a semi automatic weapon.  This goes to show you how full of crap these politicians really can be. They want to stop people who obey the law from having weapons to protect themselves.  A criminal does not care about what gun law is in place he will get one and use it. So why do these guys like Leland Yee try to pass this crap?  They scare those who do not know better, they suppress stories when a legal gun owner protect themselves using a gun.  Why?  So they can reap the rewards from those with the guns.

The FBI had undercover agents and CHS Confidential Human Sources give Leland Yee cash for favors.  They had Shrimp Boy and associates launder cash from supposed illicit activity such as drug trafficking and gambling.  The indictment is over 100 pages long but these men have great lawyers.  
They are not as sexy as the Italian Mafia, Shrimp Boy is a 5’5” chubby man and Leland Yee looks like an older Chinese businessman.  The Triads are so successful because they fly under the radar.   They can bring in 40 kilos of Heroin a year for 30 years  and never get greedy or flashy.  They buy buildings, help the community, keep the peace, send kids to college.  

I will post more as these men go to trial.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Anthony Baratta was a Capo in the Gambino family in the golden years of the Mafia.  His son Anthony “Bowat” Baratta Jr followed him into the life.  Bowat was always an earner in the Harlem crew of the Lucchese Family (the neighborhood he grew up in was no longer a Gambino territory).  Most of his money came from the Heroin business.

He would work with the guys on Pleasant Avenue, aka The Pleasant Ave Connection.  So many guys came out of that group, but they all paid with long periods behind bars.  Bowat took a Heroin pinch way back when one of his guys was dealing with an undercover cop.  They saw Bowat picking up the Heroin and then placing it in a car to be picked up after the cash was exchanged.  He tried for an appeal but that didn't go any place, so he did his time.  

Bowat was close to guys in the LA Family, so his power stretched across the country.  He rubbed some guys wrong because they felt he had "Airs" about him, like he thought he was royalty. He became a Made guy in Lucchese Family's Bronx Faction in 1978, after being sponsored into the family by the powerful underboss Salvatore "Tom Mix" Santoro.  It should come as no surprise, because Tom Mix was a huge heroin dealer until later in life when he took over control of the construction rackets for the Lucchese Family.

Once Bowat was released for his heroin dealing, he became the Capo who ran the Bronx Faction and he would be on the ruling panel after Vic Amuso went away.  He would take part in the September 1991 planned killing of Al D'Arco at the Kimberly Hotel with Frank Lastorino and soldier Mike Desantis.  That turned out bad and Al D'Arco was able to escape and would later flip after they threatened his family.  

Bowat must not have learned a thing because he took part in an induction ceremony in October of 1991 that would become known as the Mafia Class of 1991, Bowat along with 6 members of the family ruling panel and 3 soldiers inducted 5 men into the family.  One man he sponsored, Thomas D'Ambrosia, because he was a big part of his Bronx Heroin crew.  Another man inducted that night was Frankie Gioia who would flip because Lucchese Mobsters were going to kill his father while Frankie was locked up.  Everyone else that took part in the Class of 1991 would be locked up in less than 3 years with one dying behind bars.  

Bowat would take a plea deal for 15 years in 1993 and then in 1995 he would be indicted for taking part in the murder of two men over garbage hauling.  In 1996 Bowat was in Otisville FCI where he became friendly with Andrew Higgins who was the son of well respected Tony Higgins.  They got involved in a Heroin deal and bunch of guys ended up going down for it.

Maybe Bowat liked being locked up, who can say.  He had to give up cigars while locked up so he started to smoke a pipe.  He liked to cook while locked up, he would get kosher baked beans from the Jews and then put a ton of hot peppers in them. They would be so hot there would be sweat on his bald head.

In 1992 the Lucchese Family and the Mafia hit an all time low (even for them) when they targeted turncoat Peter Chiodo's sister, Patricia Capozzalo for murder.  The rule used to be that families were off limits, but in a family that was run by the crackhead "Gaspipe," there were no rules.  So Michael "Baldy" Spinelli and Dino Basciano ambushed Patricia just after she dropped off her two children at school.  They wounded her but failed to kill her before they got away.  Baldy had enlisted his mentally challenged brother Robert Spinelli to drive the switch car after they dumped the van used in the hit.  Baldy would soon be locked up for the attempted hit but that did not stop him from wanting to be a made man in the Lucchese Family.  He felt that he was not getting credit for his part in the hit so he lobbied for his induction.  Soon the crackhead Gaspipe was locked up with him.  So Gaspipe and Bowat decided that since Dino Basiano had flipped they would induct him into the family.

So in 1993 Bowat took part in what must have been the worst induction ceremony ever in the bathroom of MMC Manhattan.  There would be no chanting, no pistol or knife and no Saint Card, what Baldy would get was burning toilet paper in his hand while he took the oath.

Today Bowat is free along with a number of the Class of 1991.  He is now free to use his table at Rao's 3 times a month as long as he keeps away from other guys on his list.  Maybe when he gets off parole he will step up and start making moves.