A police chief in the Philippines was killed by a rooster in a freak accident during a raid to break up an illegal cockfight — when the fighting bird’s blade cut open an artery in his leg, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Christian Bolok, the chief of the San Jose police force, bled to death Monday in Madugang village after the razor-sharp blade, called a gaff, sliced his femoral artery, Northern Samar provincial Gov. 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.
Police tried to slow the blood loss by tying a cloth tightly around Bolok’s leg, he added, but they may have applied it in the wrong spot.
Three farmers who had been taking part in the illegal fight were arrested and three others were being sought.
Authorities seized seven roosters, a pair of gaffs and 550 pesos – about $10 — in cash, officials said.
Police have been cracking down on illegal cockfights, as the gatherings have been blamed for helping spread the coronavirus in the central province.
Ongchuan and the local government praised Bolok’s work in enforcing safeguards to fight coronavirus infections.
“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, who provided financial help to Bolok’s family, said in a statement.
Northern Samar police provincial chief Arnel Apud expressed his sorrow over Bolok’s death, CNN reported.
“I have a heavy heart as we have lost a brother who sacrificed his own life in the name of service,” Apud said in a statement. “The (Philippine National Police) grieves the untimely death of Lt. Bolok and extends its deepest sympathy to his family and relatives.”
He told Agence France-Presse: “I could not believe it when it was first reported to me. This is the first time in my 25 years as a policeman that I lost a man due to a fighting cock’s spur.”
Bolok’s police force posted photographs from a memorial service held for the officer.
Cockfights — known as “tupada” – are popular gambling activities in many parts of the Philippines.
Some are licensed but many also are illegal – but all such events are now banned as part of efforts to fight the coronavirus.
The Philippines has recorded more than 375,000 infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, and at least 7,114 deaths.