The Royal China restaurant group in London has had illegally imported shark fins confiscated by Westminster Council.

Jason Chan, marketing manager for the four-restaurant group had boasted to reporters from the i newspaper that he sold shark fin soup, not on the menu, to wealthy Chinese diners and had a team of people bringing the fins into the UK in suitcases “to stop them being confiscated”. In fact the investigation found that the fins were being posted from Hong Kong, in contravention of UK import law.

Consumption of shark fin soup in China has plummeted by more than 80%, mostly from its rejection by young people aware that when caught by Chinese fishermen the shark’s fins are simply hacked off and the mutilated bodies of the still-alive fish thrown back into the sea, where they can take up to a week to die, painfully. A number of celebrities, including actor Jackie Chan have started turning down shark fin soup when served to them at banquets, and some restaurant review websites have carried reviews urging other UK diners not to patronise Chinese restaurants, like Royal China, still serving it.

Campaigners hope that, like the consumption in Asian cultures of powdered tiger bones, rhino horn and seal penis, the drinking of shark fin soup will simply die out with its dwindling band of rich and irresponsible consumers.

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