Writing on wall for restaurant over dusky fins

Local | Sophie Hui 4 Sep 2017

Environmentalists hung a large banner with more than 1,000 angry faces on the exterior wall of a Chinese restaurant in Central yesterday, accusing it of serving fins of the endangered dusky shark species.

The group of 10 protesters from the Hong Kong Shark Foundation claimed that Lei Garden at One IFC has continued to offer dishes with dusky shark fins, while two other restaurants named by the group had taken action.

Three of the 23 Chinese restaurants surveyed by the group were found to have served the fins (known as Hai Hu, or Hoi Fu) - including Lei Garden, Dragon King Restaurant Group, and Star of Canton.

The Star of Canton has announced it would stop serving the fins, while Dragon King Restaurant Group hasn't confirm whether they would be removed from the menu.

Prentice Koo Wai-muk, the foundation's campaign head, said Lei Garden has failed to respond to the environmentalists' complaints over the past two months.

He said people are angry with Lei Garden, as it is speeding up the extinction of dusky sharks, which is as endangered as the giant panda and the polar bear.

Meanwhile, some restaurateurs continued to serve dusky shark's fins, as they believe they're of better quality and can fetch higher prices, Koo said. But eateries that have stopped serving the fins haven't suffered a huge loss of business, he added.

Lei Garden claimed its food was "safe, healthy, hygienic and delicious," and sourced from sustainable suppliers, Koo said, but the restaurant has violated its own values, as the fins may contain metals and a mix of chemicals.

"If they [Lei Garden] are really committed to championing safety, healthiness and sustainability, they should immediately ban the sales of all threatened species," Koo said.

A reporter checked Lei Garden's menu and did not find mention of the fins, but the group said the dish was on the menu when they checked in July.

Koo hoped Lei Garden could clarify whether it is still serving it, as there may be a change of the name for the dish.

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