Conservation activists gatecrashed the opening of a Shake Shack burger joint pop-up at Central’s IFC building on Saturday.

Photo: Alex Hofford/WildAid.

The demonstrators were protesting the US chain’s partnership with Hong Kong firm Maxims over their use of shark fin at local restaurants.

The three WildAid activists staged a silent protest with placards before being confronted by Shake Staff staff and removed by security.

Photo: Alex Hofford/WildAid.

Shark fin soup is a popular item on set menus for large banquet gatherings – especially during weddings or Chinese New Year. Finning involves the removal of fins from sharks whilst the animal is still alive. They are sometimes then dumped back into the ocean where they die of starvation as they are unable to swim properly, according to NGO WWF.

Citing a Shake Shack slogan, WildAid said in a tweet: “We’re calling on them to Stand For Something Good® by ditching their #shark killer partner Maxim’s.”

Photo: Alex Hofford/WildAid.

In a letter to its founders last Wednesday, the NGO urged Shake Shake to encourage Maxims to “to drop cruel, dirty, unsustainable, and often criminal shark fin trade with immediate effect.”

Photo: Alex Hofford/WildAid.

Maxim’s has previously said it “take[s] responsibility in sustainable sourcing while continuing to respond to our customers’ changing preferences.”

Shake Shack did not respond to HKFP’s enquiries.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.