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California officials make big shark fin bust in SF

Shark Fin Bust

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - More than a ton of illegal shark fins were seized from a vendor in San Francisco, state wildlife officials said Friday.

Michael Kwong, 42, of Kwong Yip Inc. was cited for having 2,138 pounds of the fins, which violates California's ban that went into effect in July, said Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Possessing shark fins, selling or trading them is a misdemeanor under California's law, so Foy said it will be up to a judge to determine any penalty.

Investigators were led to Kwong during an investigation of an Emeryville restaurant cited for selling shark fin soup on Jan. 27.

"We consider this an extremely egregious violation of the law," Foy said. "We will work with San Francisco's district attorney and push the case forward."

A message left for Kwong at his business was not returned.

Kwong has been an outspoken opponent of the state's ban, and he was a member of a Chinese-American group that sued to challenge its constitutionality, Foy said.

Conservation groups have estimated that 73 million sharks are killed each year globally for their fins, which are often cut from live animals.

Opponents of shark finning praised the state's bust.

"California's shark fin ban is critical to ending the cruel practice of shark finning, and to protecting sharks and ocean ecosystems for future generations," Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society of the U.S. said in a statement. "This important bust by California's 'thin green line' sends a strong message that breaking California's animal protection laws has consequences."

Kwong insisted that the fins be kept refrigerated during the investigation, in the hopes that he would get them back, Foy said.

The fins are often used to make shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese dish.

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington also have state bans on the possession or sale of shark fins, according to the Humane Society.

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agama63 February 17 2014 at 12:15 AM

Ted Lieu fought tooth and nail to keep shark finning legal in California. He lost because some celebrities with lots of money were able to fund the fight.
Keep Ted Lieu out of American Government.

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jpcurl4444 February 15 2014 at 6:42 PM

What an A$$hole. How many sharks do you have to kill to get this many fins.

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ccrhale3 February 15 2014 at 6:19 PM

give this idiot the max THEN deport him

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1 reply to ccrhale3's comment
cruising7388 February 15 2014 at 8:38 PM

No, don't deport him. Feed him to the sharks.

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frankjgium February 15 2014 at 6:17 PM

He is not the first guy to go to jail for a piece of tail

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catwomencjk February 15 2014 at 6:16 PM

Oh, forgot to add this. Nail fish-n-chips for shark fins.

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aristocat101 February 15 2014 at 6:15 PM

its enough already leave animals alone, why do people have to hurt them just for money. Use criminals in jail like rapists,,child molestors terrorists,drug dealers, murderers except self defense cases, illegals use these scum torture and kill them use them in lab tests too instead of animals. I would do that in a second.

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catwomencjk February 15 2014 at 6:14 PM

Do you think a male shark whose female shark wife got finned, or worse, could get righteously
pissed off and go berserk on surfers and ocean lovers out for a pleasant day in the surf? Or
maybe a mommy shark whose little shark kid got this inhumane treatment.
Outlaw ivory, finning and any animal cruelty in the US waters or buying/selling in the US.
Transport them to elephant habitat or shark infested water.
Mike

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chawau10 February 15 2014 at 5:41 PM

I think the world would be better off without any shark's

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2 replies to chawau10's comment
visconti24 February 15 2014 at 6:11 PM

You have decided this on your own. If the world did not need sharks, there wouldn't be any. Nature takes care of itself. But human intervention in killing seventy three million animals just because some people want to have soup made of their fins is outrageous.

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anvilacres February 15 2014 at 6:12 PM

probably be better off without a lot of humans

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mzfoofoo February 15 2014 at 5:34 PM

Killing sharks for fins is outrageous and should be banned everywhere. Culture or No culture.

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2 replies to mzfoofoo's comment
quincy_maxwell February 15 2014 at 5:45 PM

So is the murdering of innocent children with guns.

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cruzmoreno February 15 2014 at 6:40 PM

Shark meat is eatable, who said killing them just for fins only ?. Nothing should go to waste.

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green gate farm February 15 2014 at 5:28 PM

Great. Now every ethnic group wants to challenge American law because it doesn't fit their own agenda. If he wants to serve shark fin soup and shark fins are not legal here why doesn't he just go to go any country that allows it. We are always changing American laws and culture to satisfy every group that comes here. Pretty soon it will be legal for women to be murdered because it's a cultural thing, we'll be serving cat and dog meat in restaurants because it's a cultural thing, we'll have cock fights in the streets because it's a cultural thing and who knows what else because it's a cultural thing.

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Erne February 15 2014 at 6:05 PM

Name one law we have changed to satisfy any ethnic group! In this country, we allow our citizens to challenge any law they don't agree with, but we do it by petition. We don't let anyone change the law just because they don't like it. Laws are passed or repealed through a legislative proccess, by duly elected officials, not by ethnic groups. Get real! If you seriously believe this country is headed towards serving dog meat in restaurants and cock fighting in the streets, you are seriously delusional, not to mention hysterically hyperbolic!

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SF Performance February 15 2014 at 6:22 PM

re "We don't let anyone change the law just because they don't like it. Laws are passed or repealed through a legislative proccess, by duly elected officials, not by ethnic groups"
WRONG... YOU FORGOT ABOUT OBAMA!!

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