In 2012 there was worldwide media coverage regarding a dog-fighting operation that was being conducted in several Philippine provinces simultaneously.
On March 30, 2012, Philippine Police seized over 300 pit bulls in separate raids on two locations—an underground dog-fight arena in Calauan and a dog farm in San Pablo City in Laguna (south of Manila).
The Pit Bulls were being housed in individual metal fuel drums and tied with heavy steel chains inside the lot in a former coffee plantation, surrounded by a fence made of corrugated tin. Police also recovered 30 dogs from an arena in the nearby town of Calauan where they were about to start a dog fight.
Rescuers were appalled that some of the Pit Bulls seized had been “saved” in a previous bust in Cavite in December 2011, but were “recycled,” meaning they were adopted or rescued by people who sold them back to the same dogfighters.
A number of Korean nationals were arrested, but the penalties were so minimal that the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Cara Welfare Philippines (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals) and other groups doubted that they were any deterrent to the lucrative dog-fighting enterprise.
SOUTH KOREANS RAN CHILLING DOG FIGHT OPERATION
Eight South Koreans who ran the dog-fighting operation in Laguna pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and two counts of violating the Animal Welfare Act and were each given three-year prison terms, one year for each count, reported Interaksyon.com in 2012.
Prosecutor John-John Cabral said they had asked the judge for the maximum prison term of two years for each of the offenses.
The judge also fined the men P15,000 each.
Now, some of these South Korean men are on their way back home, according to KoreaRealTime, a blog by the Wall Street Journal.
Two of the eight men were deported this week and another four will be in the near future, according to Rosevida Nabong, an attorney for the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration.
Of the other two men, one is facing additional criminal charges and the other is still fighting deportation, Nabong added.
Philippine media reported the Korean nationals’ ages ranged from early-20s to mid-40s.
According to officials and animal rights activists involved in the raid, the men ran an arena that was equipped with video cameras used to live-stream the fights. Gamblers in South Korea and elsewhere would then place bets on the fight online.
During the raid in April, police rescued around 300 dogs, but many had to be put down because of their condition.
CARA official Maria Parsons said some of the pit bulls were “starved and pumped full of steroids” when they were found, according to the Wall Street Journal. She also recalled a hole filled with dead dogs “in varying states of decay” on a property managed by the Koreans.
A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said that Seoul was aware of the men’s cases.
He wrote in an email that South Koreans who have “substantially compromised national dignity” while overseas could have their passports restricted for between one to three years depending on the “gravity of the person’s sentence.”
Dog fighting is illegal in both the Philippines and South Korea.