The police chief of a Philippine town has been killed during a raid on an illegal cockfight when one of the razor-sharp metal blades worn by the birds cut an artery in his leg and he bled to death.
The incident took place on Monday in Madugang village in Northern Samar province, where police have been cracking down on illegal cockfights because the gatherings have been blamed for helping to spread coronavirus.
Ch Lt Christian Bolok, who was in his mid-30s, was trying to grab a cockerel when one of its gaffs – the steel blades attached to its legs – severed his femoral artery, according to the provincial governor, Edwin Ongchuan.
“He was trying to confiscate the roosters,” Ongchuan said, adding that Bolok or his companions had tried to stem his blood loss by tying a cloth around his leg but may have applied the tourniquet in the wrong spot.
Officers arrested three farmers who had been taking part in the illegal fight, and were searching for three others. They seized seven cockerels, a pair of gaffs and 550 pesos (£8) in cash in the raid, a police report said.
Ongchuan and his local government praised Bolok’s dedication and determination to enforce coronavirus safeguards in Northern Samar, and the governor had given Bolok’s family financial support, officials said.
“We grieve with our provincial police in the loss of such a committed and selfless officer, whose enforcement of our community quarantine regulations has cost him his life,” Ongchuan said.
Cockfighting is a popular pastime and gambling sport in many rural areas of the Philippines. Some fights are licensed and legal, but many are not. All such events are currently prohibited as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus.
The Philippines has recorded more than 375,000 infections since the pandemic began, the second-highest number in south-east Asia, and at least 7,114 deaths.