A police officer has died breaking up an illegal cockfight after a blade attached to a rooster’s leg sliced through his femoral artery, according to Filipino officials.
The sharp metal spur reportedly struck the officer’s leg as he tried to confiscate the bird as evidence of the illegal event on Monday in the central Philippine province of Northern Samar.
Lieutenant Christian Bolok, who headed up the San Jose municipal police station, was rushed to the provincial hospital and declared dead on arrival, local media reported.
“I have a heavy heart as we have lost a brother who sacrificed his own life in the name of service,” the provincial police chief Colonel Arnel 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.”
Col Apud told Agence France-Presse: “It was an unfortunate accident and a piece of bad luck that I cannot explain.
“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.”
Cockfighting is popular in the Philippines, with spectators betting on the result of an often deadly fight between two roosters who are often adorned with bladed spurs in place of naturally bony protrusions on their legs, which are removed.
But the events have been banned during the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to limit potentially infectious gatherings, with reports of four attendees of a fight testing positive for Covid-19 in August.
Residents in Mandugang village raised the alarm over the event on Monday, local media reported.
Three men were arrested, and a number of others who fled the scene remain at large.
Police are reported to have confiscated seven fighting cocks, two sets of blades and 550 Philippine pesos (£8.70).