Exclusive London restaurant found to be using illegally imported shark fins for soup

Rosie Vare

A London restaurant has had its stock of illegally imported shark fins confiscated and destroyed by Trading Standards.

The Royal China Club in the West End of London is one of Britain's most exclusive Chinese restaurants and is said to be one of the best in the capital, the Independent reports.

The pricey restaurant came under investigation when Jason Chan, the marketing manager, admitted to selling shark fin soup and other exotic items that weren't listed on the menu in an interview with the Independent in January.

He added that the ingredients were brought over to the UK in suitcases because "if they were sent over, they'd get confiscated".

Bite-Back, a marine conservation charity, complained to Westminster City Council over these remarks and research into the issue showed that the shark fins were being illegally sent through the post from Hong Kong.

Campaign director at Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: "The parallels between the trade in ivory and shark fins are huge and the fact that the Royal China Club has now been caught illegally importing fins to the UK is a further evidence of the corrupt industry behind this controversial menu item."

Other items that were being sold but not listed on the menu were abalone and sea cucumber, the International Business Times reports.

The restaurant boasts a pricey menu, and his original interview with the Independent, Mr Chan says: "If you're having a starter of the caterpillar soup, then the shark's fin, then the fish maw, then main courses and dessert and the Da Hong Pao, it will easily cost £2,800,"

He also reveals that they use "the powder from shark's teeth" for their abalone sauce.

A Westminster City Council officer said: "The council undertook an investigation and discovered that they imported the produce through an unapproved channel and as such we have taken appropriate action against the restaurant".

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