Philippine Police Take Down 102 Online Cockfighting Platforms

The Philippine National Police announced that it closed down around 102 online cockfighting platforms. On a news briefing live streamed on Facebook, a spokesperson said, “We are still having a hard time dealing with these electronic sabong operations because of our [limited] technological capabilities. The government should start strengthening its cyber-capabilities.”

In the Philippines, online cockfighting is also known as online sabong or e-sabong.

Police have arrested around 28 people engaged in online cockfighting games in Mandaluyong City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Santiago City.

The police are closely monitoring 272 websites, 67 Facebook accounts, 31 Facebook groups, 18 Facebook pages, and 120 mobile applications that are being used for illegal cockfighting operations.

“E-sabong websites hosted outside the Philippines can only be blocked, not taken down, as these sites can continue to operate via virtual private networks,” said the spokesperson.

Online cockfighting gained prominence at the height of the pandemic. However, the activity was banned by former president Rodrigo Duterte due to the disappearance of at least 30 individuals connected to it. Current Philippine President Marcos Jr. has yet to reinstate online cockfighting in the country.