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The Life and Times of Raymond Chow, Chinatown Gangster

If   anyone   was   born   to   the   gangster   life,   it   is   Raymond   Chow.   Indeed,   the   more   one   looks   at Raymond   Chow’s   background,   the   more   one   can   see   that   he   had   criminal   ties   that   gave   him much power, and he knew how to wield it. As   Chow   tells   it,   he   committed   his   first   crime   at   age   8,   joined   the   Triads   and   cut   somebody up   at   age   9,   and   by   age   12,   had   sex   with   a   prostitute   for   the   first   time.   In   his   teens,   the   young hoodlum   was   involved   in   a   slew   of   criminal   activities,   such   as   gambling,   extortion   and racketeering. Chow   had   the   swagger   and   style   of   a   big-time   gangster,   but   he   certainly   didn’t   look   like   one, at   least   at   first   glance.   Barely   5’5”   tall,   he   had   a   distinctive   shaved   head,   a   pencil   mustache and a penchant for white, tailor-made suits. One   of   five   brothers,   Raymond   Chow   was   born   in   Hong   Kong   on   December   31,   1959,   as Chow   Kwok-Cheung.      His   nickname,   “Shrimp   Boy,”   an   obvious   reference   to   his   short   stature, was   given   to   him   by   his   grandmother   in   the   belief   that   evil   spirits   could   not   find   little   children like her Raymond if they did not know their name. Of   Taishanese   Chinese   descent,   Chow’s   family   comes   from   a   coastal   city   in   the   southern Guangdong   province   in   the   People’s   Republic   of   China.   The   number   of   Taishanese   in   China total   close   to   a   million,   while   another   half   million   reside   in   America.   The   Taishanese   count many   notable   people   among   their   numbers,   including   artists,   politicians,   movie   stars   and martial artists. Chow   came   to   live   in   San   Francisco,   a   city   whose   population   includes   150,000   Chinese. That   number   amounts   to   about   22   percent   of   the   population,   which   gives   San   Francisco   the highest percentage of residents of Chinese descent of any major U.S. city.