PRESS RELEASE: Stop selling threatened species Over a thousand Hong Kong citizens angered by Lei Garden’s inconsistent message about sharks & sustainability

Hong Kong (3rd Sept, 2017) – Ten members of HK Shark Foundation protested today at the Lei Garden in IFC, Central. They posted over 1,000 ‘Angry Face’ collected from concerned citizens online along the front wall of Lei Garden, protesting against the sale of threatened species. Handbills asking Lei Garden to “stop serving threatened Dusky Shark” were distributed to remind the customers at Lei Garden that the species is as endangered as Giant Panda and Polar Bear. HK Shark Foundation demands full disclosure of the shark fins species on sale at Lei Garden, and for an immediate stop the sales of all threatened species.    


Prentice Koo, Head of Campaign, stated “People are angry with Lei Garden that they are speeding up the extinction of Dusky Shark. The Founder of Lei Garden, Chan Shu Kit, once claimed that he welcomes customers’ complaints[1]. We, therefore, hope that Lei Garden will directly respond to these complaints from the people of Hong Kong.”


Chinese Restaurants should stop selling threatened sharks


After Maxim’s promised not to sell threatened species and took shark fin off the menu, Star of Canton has also announced they would stop selling ‘Hai Hu’ fins immediately after the launch of HKSF’s ‘Shark Killer Ranking’. This has proved that restaurant chains are able to stop the sales of threatened species. Lei Garden claims that “over 1,000 recipes have been improved since business established in 1973”, indicating that taking Hai Hu Fin of their menu would not cause any significant detriment to their multi-million dollar businesses, spanning 24 branches around the world Contrastingly, such a decision would have a profound positive impact on conservation efforts for sharks.


Lastly, HKSF pointed out the sales of threatened species contradicts the company’s corporate pledges. The Group emphasizes serving “Safe, Healthy, Hygienic and Delicious” food that are sourced from sustainable suppliers, claiming that this will bring back the original taste of the ingredients. However, selling ‘Hai Hu’ fin puts direct pressure on and risks the extinction of Dusky Sharks, which would also have disastrous consequences for ocean ecosystems.


Sharks and their fins may contain heavy metals and are processed with a mix of chemicals. The potential harm to customers violates the values that Lei Garden has been promoting. Prentice Koo criticized Lei Garden, pointing out that the Group is being hypocritical ‘If they are really committed to championing safety, healthiness and sustainability, they should immediately ban the sale of all threatened species. If they are brave enough to take this step, they could become a genuinely exceptional Cantonese-style restaurant.”

[1]  CAPITAL Entrepreneur, Interview from issue 064


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