Manila: Police in Cavite province, south of the capital, have busted a foreign syndicate running illegal dog-fighting matches over the internet.
Reports reaching Manila said police swooped down on an abandoned animal feed mill in Indang town last Friday and arrested six South Koreans and 17 Filipinos.
"The Filipinos showed the kennel where the dogs are kept and fed before they are pit against each other in a fight, usually to the death," said Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao.
Seized in the raid were 250 pitbull canines, a breed of dog used in high stakes fighting matches. The animals were turned over to a local animal shelter.
Although Philippine authorities had busted dog-fighting syndicates in the past, the the Friday arrests marks the first time that the illicit operation involved a highly-organised and an high-tech ring.
The raid was conducted with the help of an animal rights group, the Animal Kingdom Foundation.
According to police, the syndicate show live video streams of dog fights to patrons who are given the privilege to watch the match over the internet in exchange for paying a certain sum. The transactions are conducted online using credit cards.
Bulalacao said they are still trying to determine if betting was involved in the operation.
The police official said that when questioned, the Koreans said they had no idea that dog fighting is illegal in the Philippines.
According to the police, the Koreans and their Filipino cohorts will be charged under the country's law safeguarding Animal Welfare.
Animal abuse is punishable with imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
In 2007 a similar ring conducting secret dog fights in Antipolo City east of Manila was busted by authorities. The syndicate was run by two Thai nationals.