8 Koreans nabbed; 300 dogs rescued
SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Police arrested eight Koreans and rescued over 300 pit bulls in separate raids on an underground dog fight arena and a dog farm in Caluan and San Pablo City in Laguna.
Chief Insp. Renante Galang, from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) national office, said the arrested foreigners were the same group of online dog fight operators who were arrested in Indang, Cavite, on Dec. 3, 2011.
“We received information that while they were out on bail they moved and set up another gaming facility in Laguna,” Galang said in a phone interview on Saturday.
The eight Koreans, who were taken to and detained at the CIDG national headquarters in Camp Caringal in Quezon City, would be charged on Monday with violation of the Animal Welfare Act and illegal gambling, said Galang.
They were identified as Lee Gwi Woo, 21; Jeong Yeon Hwal, 31; Noh Min Chul, 44; Lee Kyung Won, 31; Kim Young Hwan, 29; Hyun Ho Han, 45; Hong Jeong Oh, 43; and Kim Do Kyung, 41.
He said five of them—Noh Min Chul, Lee Gwi Woo, Lee Kyung Won, Kim Young Hwan and Jeong Yeon Hwal—were among those arrested in the raid on a dog fight club in Cavite in December 2011 but were released on bail.
The CIDG and the Laguna police on Friday evening raided the 2-hectare dog fight arena in Barangay Limao in Calauan town. Galang said the police arrived just in time before a “big fight.”
Similar to the fight club busted in Cavite, pit bulls were pitted against each other in 3- to
5-minute fights that were being streamed live on the Internet. Patrons, mostly foreigners, place bets worth hundreds of thousands to a million Korean won through credit cards or Paypal.
“There were high-class cameras installed around the ring,” Galang said. Police rescued 33 pit bulls from the arena in Calauan.
Police then proceeded to San Pablo City, a 30-minute drive from Caluan, to a farm in Barangay San Gregorio were the Koreans housed over 300 other fighting pit bulls.
Galang, quoting the farm caretakers, said the Koreans had been renting the 2-ha lot since February.
Anna Cabrera, executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which was contacted by the police for the dog rescue, said the pit bulls were found to be in a very bad condition, some of which had been injured from the fights.
“I could not see even one dog whose ribs are not showing,” Cabrera said.
In the farm in San Pablo, the dogs were each chained to a steel water drum toppled to its side that serves as the animals’ shelter against the rain.
PAWS’ veterinarians identified at least 10 of the pit bulls, which they found in a cage separate from the others, that needed to be put to sleep.
Cabrera said the caged dogs were already weak and were already lying on their sides.
“The problem, however, is that (cruelty to animals is) a bailable offense,” Cabrera said.
Animal offenders, according to the Philippine Animal Welfare Act, face a maximum penalty of P5,000 or six months to two years imprisonment.
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