SAIPAN COP, FORMER LAWMAKER BUSTED AT ILLEGAL COCKFIGHT

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Government restricts the bloody sport to single license holder

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan, 6, 2009) – A police detective has been conducting illegal cockfights while a former House member was also seen in a separate cockfight with more than 50 participants, Saipan Mayor Juan B. Tudela disclosed yesterday as he asked the Attorney’s General Office to prosecute these violators.

"Video footage of these illegal cockfighting activities has been obtained as evidence should there be any formal complaints filed against all violators," Tudela said.

He declined to disclose the names of the detective and the former lawmaker.

During the holiday season, Tudela said his office received reports of illegal cockfighting activities in different areas of Saipan.

Tudela said his office only authorizes one licensed operator to conduct cockfight operations, based on a public bidding process in accordance with the Saipan Cockfighting Act of 1994 and the CNMI Code.

The only authorized licensee to conduct cockpit operations on island is the Saipan Cockpit on Middle Road in Gualo Rai.

The mayor said he notified the authorities about illegal cockfights over a year ago.

Last Dec. 27, he said, the police detective was seen conducting an illegal cockfight activity behind the China House Restaurant on Beach Road in Garapan with about 30 participants.

On Christmas Day, the former House member was seen in San Vicente area, conducting a cockfight with more than 50 participants.

Mr. Tudela said on Dec. 28 another illegal cockfighting event was conducted in Kagman 3 area.

Similar events were also held in Chalan Kiya and Dandan, he added.

Last November, he said, another illegal cockfighting activity was reported to his office and it involved a cockfight board member.

The activity was immediately investigated and an agreement was reached between the board member and the licensed cockfight operator, Tudela said. He did not elaborate

Illegal cockfights operate with minimal facilities and are mobile, he added.

Their "arenas" are inadequate and pose health and safety hazards, especially when food and drinks are sold without the necessary permits, the mayor said.

"There illegal operators pay no taxes and take money out of individuals who could have spent their money at licensed business," he said.

Illegal cockfight arenas are not insured and nobody will take full responsibility for the participants in case untoward incidents occur, Tudela added.

The mayor is asking DPS and the Attorney General’s Office to strictly enforce all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to cockfight operations on Saipan.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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