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Chinatown Defendant Denies Murder Accusation

(AP) - The latest from the testimony of a key defendant in an organized crime investigation centered on San Francisco's Chinatown (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

The defendant at the center of an organized crime investigation in San Francisco's Chinatown vehemently denies he had anything to do with the murder of a Chinese fraternal group leader.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, his voice rising, told jurors during his testimony on Monday that he was innocent in the 2006 slaying of Allen Leung.

Prosecutors say Chow took over the Ghee Kung Tong after having Leung, its previous leader, killed. Prosecutors also say Chow ran a racketeering enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering and the sale of stolen cigarettes and alcohol.

Chow earlier acknowledged a criminal past, but said he had renounced a life of crime after his release from custody in 2003 following a gun conviction.

The investigation led to the indictment of more than two dozen people and the conviction of a state senator.

2:45 p.m.

The defendant at the center of an organized crime investigation in San Francisco's Chinatown says he vowed not to engage in crime after his release from custody in 2003 following a gun conviction.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow said during testimony Monday he made the decision after meditating. Asked by his attorney whether he ever reneged on that vow, Chow said no.

Prosecutors say Chow took over a Chinese fraternal group with criminal ties after having its previous leader killed and ran a racketeering enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering and the sale of stolen cigarettes and alcohol. An undercover FBI agent has testified that Chow repeatedly took money from him after introducing the agent to money launderers.

The investigation led to the indictment of more than two dozen people and the conviction of a state senator.

12:45 p.m.

The defendant at the center of an organized crime investigation in San Francisco's Chinatown is acknowledging his criminal past during court testimony but says law enforcement hounded him after he tried to go straight and get a job.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow took the stand for the first time Monday in the federal racketeering, money laundering and murder trial against him.

Prosecutors say Chow took over a Chinese fraternal group with criminal ties after having its previous leader killed. The investigation led to the conviction of a state senator.

Chow says he ran an escort service, dealt cocaine and was involved in a street gang. He said when he was released from prison in 1989, he got a job at a supermarket and law office but continued to face scrutiny from police.