MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The police chief of a Philippine town was killed during a raid on an illegal cockfight when he bled to death after the razor-sharp metal blade on one of the roosters sliced an artery in his leg, officials said Wednesday.

The freak accident that killed San Jose Police Chief Lt. Christian Bolok happened Monday in Madugang village in Northern Samar province. Police in the central province have been cracking down on illegal cockfights, as the gatherings have been blamed for helping spread the coronavirus.

Bolok, who was in his mid-30s, was trying to grab a rooster when one of its gaffs — small steel blades attached to a rooster’s legs — cut a gaping wound on his left leg and hit his femoral artery, provincial Governor Edwin Ongchuan said.

“He was trying to confiscate the roosters but the problem was the rooster’s blade may have been laced with poison,” Ongchuan told The Associated Press by telephone.

He added that Bolok or his companions tried to slow the blood loss by tying a cloth tightly around his leg as a tourniquet but may have applied it in the wrong spot.

Police arrested three farmers, who had neem taking part in the illegal game, and were searching for three others. Seven roosters, a pair of gaffs and 550 pesos ($10) in cash were seized by police, a police report said.


Ongchuan and his local government praised Bolok’s dedication and determination to enforce safeguards to fight coronavirus infections in Northern Samar. Ongchuan provided financial help to Bolok’s family, 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 in a statement.

Cockfighting is a popular pastime and gambling sport in many rural areas in the Philippines. Some are licensed and legal, but many others are illegal. All such events, however, are currently prohibited as part of efforts to fight the coronavirus.

The Philippines has recorded more than 375,000 infections since the pandemic began, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, and at least 7,114 deaths.