Police officer killed by rooster while breaking up cockfight

·2 min read
<p>Christian Bolok seen in a police image.</p><div class="cnn--image__credit"><em><small>Credit: From Northern Samar Police Provincial Office/Facebook / Facebook</small></em></div>

Christian Bolok seen in a police image.

Credit: From Northern Samar Police Provincial Office/Facebook / Facebook

A police officer has been killed by a rooster while attempting to break up an illegal cockfight in the Philippines, officers have said.

Police in the Northern Samar province said Lieutenant Christian Bolok was struck by the rooster's gaff -- a metal blade attached to the bird for a fight.

The gaff hit Bolok's femoral artery as he was confiscating the bird, police said, adding: "He was rushed to the provincial hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival due to heavy blood loss."

There is a long history of both legal and illegal cockfighting in the Philippines, but the sport was banned in the region in August after it was found to have been a source of Covid-19 infections.

<p>A rooster is fitted with a razor sharp blade as villagers engage in a cockfighting in a make shift arena as part of the town's annual "fiesta" celebrations in Barangay San Roque outside Manila on August 10, 2014. Cockfighting is hugely popular in the Philippines where large amounts of money are wagered on battles between roosters. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP via Getty Images)</p><div class="cnn--image__credit"><em><small>Credit: JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images / AFP via Getty Images</small></em></div>

A rooster is fitted with a razor sharp blade as villagers engage in a cockfighting in a make shift arena as part of the town's annual "fiesta" celebrations in Barangay San Roque outside Manila on August 10, 2014. Cockfighting is hugely popular in the Philippines where large amounts of money are wagered on battles between roosters. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP via Getty Images)

Credit: JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images / AFP via Getty Images

Illegal cockfights in the country are known as "tupada" and often operate in underground locations to avoid detection by authorities.

"I have a heavy heart as we have lost a brother who sacrificed his own life in the name of service," Northern Samar police provincial director Arnel Apud said in a statement sent to the government-run Philippines News Agency. "The (Philippine National Police) grieves the untimely death of Lt. Bolok and extends its deepest sympathy to his family and relatives."

Three people were arrested at the event and three more suspects were identified but remain at large after escaping the raid, the Philippines News Agency reported.

Officers confiscated seven fighting cocks and recovered 550 pesos ($11).

Bolok's police force posted images from a memorial service held for the officer on Wednesday.