The marketing manager of the Royal China restaurant group has been pilloried in the press for illegally importing shark’s fin to make soup, not on the menu, for his rich Chinese customers.

Jason Chan boasted to reporters how he had a team of people bringing the shark’s fins through customs in suitcases “so that they are not confiscated”. In fact an investigation by Trading Standards found that they were being illegally posted from Hong Kong, and officers confiscated and destroyed them.

Consumption of the expensive, gloopy and relatively tasteless dish, usually served at banquets, has dropped significantly as more, particularly younger diners realise the cruelty involved – the fins are simply hacked off the living fish and the mutilated shark, unable to swim, defend itself or feed, thrown back in the sea, often taking up to a week to die. Rejection by celebrities, such as actor Jackie Chan has also played a part in the demise.

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