State Sen. Leland Yee and an infamous Chinatown gang leader were arrested this morning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the agency executed numerous raids and arrest warrants throughout the Bay Area, an FBI spokesman said.
One of the warrants was served at the Ghee Kung Tong Supreme Lodge in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which houses the Chinese Freemasons of the World at 36 Spofford St., FBI spokesman Peter Lee said.
Among the arrestees was also Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the president of the Supreme Lodge of Chinese Free Masons of the world in San Francisco, who has a lengthy prior criminal history dating back to the 1970s and connections to Chinatown-based gangs. Chow was arrested at the lodge, Lee said.
Yee is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins this afternoon at 1:30 p.m., Lee said. FBI agents were at the Ghee Kung Tong building throughout the morning and were expected to bring down materials and equipment over the next several hours, FBI Special Agent Michael Gimble said.
Uniformed agents were leaving the red building throughout the morning, with some of them carrying bulletproof vests in their hands.
At around 11:30, a small group of San Francisco firefighters brought into the Ghee Kung Tong building a circular saw and a hand-held Jaws of Life tool. They declined to offer details on why the equipment was needed.
Yee represents Senate District 8, which includes the western half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County. He has declared his candidacy for secretary of state in 2012 when his term in the state senate was up and was on the ballot for November’s election.
A two-time San Francisco supervisor who also served on the school board, Yee lost his run for San Francisco mayor in 2011, finishing fifth.
Chow has a lengthy criminal history. He was convicted of six gun charges in federal court in 1995 and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was the leader of a criminal faction of the San Francisco group called the Hop Sing Tong, which started as a national business association of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.
Chow’s criminal history started early, and by age 16 he was the leader of 30 underlings collecting money from gambling dens in Hong Kong.
After coming to the U.S., he organized the Hop Sing Tong to collect money from gambling dens in San Francisco.
He was arrested on robbery charges in 1978, paroled in 1985, but quickly returned to crime and was sent back to prison.
Chow testified in the 2002 trial of Peter “Uncle” Chong that he was Chong’s right-hand man when Chong was head of the Wo Hop To criminal organization after Chow’s Hop Sing Tong gang merged with Chong’s to take over Chinatown’s criminal activity in 1990.