Just when you thought the Norman Hsu saga couldn’t get any weirder, a major Chinatown gangster shows up in the middle of it.

Raymond Kwok Chow, alias “Shrimp Boy,” is one of Hsu’s known associates.

He was notorious gangster in Chinatown in the early 1990’s, at roughly the same time when state prosecutors say Norman Hsu started his ponzi scheme with his latex gloves business.

Chow says he is now clean, and spoke with us about his relationship with Norman Hsu.

Chow dressed brazenly in white at the funeral of Allen Leung, the Chinatown business leader shot to death last year.

Chow was once one of the most feared gangsters in Chinatown.

“I grow up in crime. I grow up in the city and involved with the most crime,” said Chow.

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, San Francisco’s Chinatown was the battleground of a bloody war between powerful gangs.

Chow’s gang “Wo Hop To” finally won.

This was when Chow says he met Norman Hsu. He says Hsu dabbled in clothing, import and export and real estate. He adds Hsu was also in trouble.

“I guess he into a lot of financial problem back then and I loaned him some money,” said Chow. “And I help him with my knowledge and with my strength. That’s all there is.”

In the early hours of August 28, 1990, Foster City Police stopped a car for making an illegal turn.

In the back seat, they found a frightened Norman Hsu. In the front were Raymond Chow and two associates.

Hsu told police he had been kidnapped.

“There was a 12 hour ordeal where there was discussions, arguments. Mr. Hsu claims he was assaulted several times and threatened,” said Capt. Matt Martell, Foster City Police Department.

Hsu told police he had business dealings with Chow and there was a dispute over money.

“And what that dollar amount was, different dollar amounts ranged between $300,000 and a $1 million worth of claims,” said Capt. Martell

Chow says Hsu lied, and claims it was Hsu who called him for help that night because he owed people money.

“I met him because he was in trouble, and at that time, I helping him out a lot,” said Chow. “The way he told me, I mean, he being extortion, he being a lot of people tried to hurt him.

Chow and the others were arrested, but charges were later dropped when Hsu became uncooperative with prosecutors.

Don’t go away yet. We haven’t worked the Freemasons into the story.

“Today, Raymond, myself, I upfront to face up to all the past I have done, and to try to correct my life,” said Chow.

Chow is now the chairman of the Chinese Freemasons, the position Allen Leung held before he was killed.

All we need now is for the Illuminati to show up.

Update (AP): I’m thinking we haven’t yet scratched the surface of how awesome this scandal is. In a sense, this NYT story brings us back to square one — the very first article about Hsu last week in the Journal wondered why a middle-class family in San Francisco suddenly started donating large sums of their money to Democrats at around the same time Norman Hsu did.

Possible answer: because, just possibly, it wasn’t their money they were donating.

The records show that Components Ltd., a company controlled by Mr. Hsu that has no obvious business purpose and appears to exist only on paper, has paid a total of more than $100,000 to at least nine people who made campaign contributions to Mrs. Clinton and others through Mr. Hsu. The payments occurred in the spring of 2003, several months before Mr. Hsu emerged as a contributor to Democrats and more than a year before he started bundling checks from those same people for various campaigns. In all, he has raised more than $1 million for Democrats.

The records make clear that the group was more than just a loose collection of friends, family and co-workers that bundlers typically rely on when raising money for a candidate. Rather, each person had a direct financial relationship with Mr. Hsu, either receiving money from his company or paying into it, even though many of them appear to have other jobs or businesses independent of him. The purpose of the payments, and whether they related to business costs, fees or expenses, is unclear…

The only public evidence of Mr. Hsu’s connection to some of the political contributors who appear in his company’s financial ledger can be found in campaign finance filings. On several occasions, two donors, Winkle Paw, a financial analyst in California, and Paul Su, a computer company executive in New York, described themselves as partners in Mr. Hsu’s companies…

On [one] occasion, Mr. Paw wired $20,000 to Components Ltd., and Mr. Hsu immediately wired $30,000 to another company whose location could not be determined.

In roughly that same period, Components Ltd. issued three checks to Mr. Paw totaling about $16,000, and checks and wire transfers totaling more than $100,000 to eight other people, including a worker at a rehabilitation center for the handicapped, a housewife, a nurse, a real estate developer, a plastics company executive and his wife, and a clothing shop manager.

Mr. Hsu later bundled campaign contributions from all of those people, including Mr. Paw and six members of his family, along with Mr. and Mrs. Su. The Paws and Sus together contributed more than $400,000 since 2004 to Democrats across the country, usually in tandem with Mr. Hsu.

Not good enough? Here’s the Philly Inquirer’s report on another possible case of “Chinese laundering” involving three managers at a manufacturing plant in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, who somehow cooked up $270,000 between them for Ted Kennedy and Hillary, among others. Wouldn’t you know it, their donations came on or around the same dates as Norman Hsu’s donations to the same candidates. Like Flip Pidot says, this is the real money angle to the case; Hsu’s own donations were substantial but it’s the contributors he “bundled” for Hillary and other Democrats that stretch into seven figures.

The Journal has another piece on him out tonight attempting to unravel his decades of shadiness. And the San Fran Chronicle describes the freaky scene on the train that led to his hospitalization two days ago. No shoes, no shirt, “disoriented” — it sounds like he had a nervous breakdown. According to a family friend who spoke to WaPo, he was hinting at suicide in the days before.