Over the past few years a number of news reports informed us about
occasional police actions taken to break up cockfighting rings, including arrests,
seizures and forfeiture of property, along with some jail sentences. But, recent events reveal a darker and even more
violent side of cockfighting that is becoming more prevalent and almost common place.
Cockfighting is flourishing and the upswing in violence
involving cock fighting is frowned upon by some of the old timers who spoke with me on conditions of
anonymity. Several residents on the
Waianae coast, including cockfighters, breeders, gamblers and regular citizens,
are now expressing concern about the increase of violence in the
Operators of some of the existing game pits are claiming they have been
approached by people representing either themselves or the gang, The Westside
Boys. They told us that they were asked
to throw fights, cancel derbies, sell their fighting cocks, or pay them a
percentage of each fighting cock they sold. None of them recall violent acts occurring in
the past that would compare to the recent events of shooting or physical
assaults on breeders, fighters, or fight promoters.
One recent incident has led to the filing and issuance of
temporary restraining orders against at least four individuals who allegedly
were involved, either directly or indirectly, with an incident on NOV 17,
2012. Tommy Nelson Jr. and Tommy
Nelson Sr. recently told us that eight
or more bullets were fired into or at the residence of Tommy Nelson Sr. and his
Tommy Nelson Sr. and his wife share their home with their
son, Tommy Nelson Jr., along with his wife and children. They reported they were all present when a man came on to their property and started asking
questions. The man then began firing a
weapon at their home while the Nelson family sat eating dinner.
Tommy Nelson Sr. shows several bullet holes from shots fired at and into his home on Nov. 17, 2012. Note the one at head level in the wall.
Tommy Nelson Sr. and Tommy Nelson Jr. petitioned the District Court of the First Circuit Court of Waianae Division, declaring the following:
"I, Tommy J. Nelson Jr. live
with my parents, including Tommy J. Nelson Sr. at 87-649 Kaukama Road, Waianae, HI 96792. I Tommy J. Nelson Jr. am a chicken breeder
and trainer and seller. During the past
several months Edward and William Caspino have confronted me and told me that I
have to pay them protection money and that I must pay them for every chicken
that I own and for each chicken that I sell or that I have trained. They have been making a move to force chicken
breeders/trainers to pay them protection or extortion money so that they do not
have any trouble from them. I was told
that if I did not pay them there would be trouble for me. I have refused to pay them any money for
"On Saturday, November 17,
2012, while at my residence located at 87-649 Kaukama Road, Waianae, HI 96792, with Tommy J.
Nelson Sr., Nadleen Nelson, Nicole Nelson and Kingston Nelson, Adam Florence
appeared outside the house, along with a man who looked like Ronald Tripp, and
they began firing bullets into the house where we were all inside. About 8 or 9 bullets were fired into the
upstairs of the house and about 2 bullets were fired into the downstairs of the
house. We never gave them permission to
fire bullets into our residence. The
police were called and during their investigation they found several .45
caliber shell casings outside the house.
The police are conducting a criminal investigations into the
shooting. The police report # is
"On or about November 18, 2012, I heard that there is a
gang known as the Westside Boys, of which the Caspino's are the leaders and are
making a move to control all the chicken breeders, sellers and trainers and
everything else associated with chickens in the Leeward side of Oahu.
"I am concerned for the safety
of my family who resides with me and the fact that the threats have now become
actual by the shooting of my home.
"I Tommy Nelson Sr. am aware
of the facts above and I agree with them and I have identified Adam Florence as
the guy shooting at my house to the police department. "
We understand other witnesses have come forward and provided
information on the shooting incident and multiple arrests are expected
Where chickens live
During The Carroll Cox Show's investigation of the
matter, other breeders and fighters
disclosed to Carroll Cox how a cockfight could be thrown. For example, one cockfighter told me how to
take a large rubber band and put it over both wings while being careful to
place the rubber band under the cock's feathers to avoid detection. This prevents the cock from flying up to
attack the other cock he is pitted against.
Unless the rubber band is detected or dislodges itself, the gamblers and
other participants in the fight will think the chicken was late in responding
to the challenge.
A fighter will occasionally inject his cock with
epinephrine. The epinephrine causes the
cock's heart to beat at an accelerated pace, which causes blood to flow to the
cock's eyes, rupturing the blood vessels in the eyes and blinding him. In this state the effected cock's eyes will
appear to be normal, but he cannot see his challenger and dies from the
opponents knives, successfully "throwing the fight".
Another trick - break or sprain one of the cock's legs, then
attach the knives as you normally would.
After you place the cock in the pit with his challenger, where he will
assumedly lose and die, no one will know
what trick has taken place.
And finally, a fight can be thrown by the owner of a cock
placing ties and dull knives on one of his cocks and allowing it to fight
another cock that has sharp knives. This will surely end in the death of the cock
with dull knives.
These examples are just a few of the many ways that were
shared with me. To successfully throw a
fight, at least one of the owners of the effected birds needs to agree to
Why, you may ask, would a fighter affix dull knives, inject
epinephrine, break the legs, or use rubber bands to cause the cock to
lose? The answer is "follow the
money". A fighter may be approached
by friends or another party who offers to pay him the price of his fighting
cock, and a percentage of the purse that is won from the side bets that were
waged on the fight his was in. The
owner of the losing cock may have his friends, relatives, and others wage bets
on the opponent's cock then divide the purse,
even though his fighting cock lost.
Where chickens fight - with up to 1500 people in attendance
This purse is usually separate from the house purse that is
divided up from entry fees, parking fees,
and derby fees. To enter the
venue, each person may be charged $20 to
$40 at the gates, plus another $20 to park their car. If you want to sit next to the ring, you have
to pay the house another fee of $50 to $100.
It is reported the fee to enter and fight a set of cocks in a derby is $4,000. On some occasions, each cock is charged and
the house dictates the number of fighting cocks that can be entered in the
derby. A single derby may have 50 to 100
participants at $4,000 each. Each year
one person may fight 70 - 80 birds, and, in Hawaii, the season runs from Thanksgiving
to May or June. The house will get a percentage from the winner of
the derby. In the past the
house would bail you out if you were arrested at the fight.
The fight or derby sponsors told us their fights have
recently been experiencing a rash of attacks on cockfighters. They have been physically ruffed up and
robbed of their jewelry, money and other valuables. In the past this was rarely a problem because
fight promoters, or the "house", hired
security to protect the fight participants. They believe the recent arrest and prosecution
of Lloyd Marshall created a void that previously did not exist because Marshall
and his regime relied on a more seasoned security force to protect fights.
The photos you see with this article are from various breeder facilities
on the Island of Oahu. Some are thought
to be situated on state property. Note,
it is not illegal to own or posses fighting cocks in Hawaii. I offer that bit of information to discourage
anyone from taking actions, in their own hands, to free or remove any of the
game cocks housed at these facilities.
They are the property of others.
If you see game cocks housed at any of the facilities are being
inhumanely treated, report them to the authorities.
After the fight