MANILA - Police have arrested six South Koreans suspected of running a massive, high-tech dogfighting operation where matches in the Philippines were shown online to overseas bettors, police said Saturday.
About 240 pitbulls were confiscated in the raid late Friday from a secluded compound where the dogs were kept and the matches held, the local police intelligence chief said.
"They had an arena enclosed with mirrors. They had videocams, computers and they would show live fights of the pitbulls and it could be seen on their website in Korea," Chief Inspector Romeo Valero said.
He told AFP that Filipino caretakers hired to take care of the animals said the dogfighting operation in a rural area about an hour's drive south of Manila had been going on for over a month, and sometimes dogs would die from their injuries.
Valero said no dead animals were found at the compound although some of the dogs were suffering wounds from recent battles.
He said the Koreans did not know how to speak English and it was not yet known how long they had been in the country. One Korean claimed they did not know dogfighting was illegal in the Philippines.
The dogs were turned over to a local animal shelter
If convicted, the Koreans and their local accomplices could face six months to two years in jail, Valero said.
He said he as well as violation of animal protection laws, he wanted to charge them with illegal gambling, although this was more complicated as no money was seized and the betting took place overseas.
The South Korean embassy could not immediately be contacted for comment.
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