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‘Cockfight court’ busy


Tiny Waianae District Court was a busy place this morning as 100 of the 574 people arrested May 21 in Hawaii’s biggest cockfight raid milled around awaiting their court appearance.

There were mixed feelings about the impending sessions with District Magistrate Jon Chinen, but on one count the defendants all appeared to agree: There’s nothing wrong with chicken fighting.

The laws of the City and County of Honolulu, however, don’t agree with this point of view. Cockfighting is illegal and so is the mere fact of being present at a cockfight.

Seventy policemen made this quite clear Sunday when they swooped down on a large lot between a chicken farm and a pig farm on Paakea Road, Waianae.

Today was the day when the 574 participants and spectators arrested at the cockfight were scheduled to appear before Magistrate Chinen.

Those who pleased innocent today were told that their trial was set for July 17. …

A Star-Bulletin reporter circulated among the defendants who swarmed inside and outside the court building, asking them their opinion of the cockfight controversy.

Those arrested — most of them of Filipino extraction — agreed that cockfighting should not be a crime and that the sport is no more cruel than slaughtering chickens or cows for the dinner table. …

One small grandmother said: “Fighting chickens is not a crime. We are losing our own money, we aren’t stealing, why not legalize it?”

… Oahu is unusual among the Islands because it is the only one that makes it a crime to be present at a cockfight. The Neighbor Islands rely on a cruelty to animals statute, which means that only the persons involved in the actual cockfight can be arrested.


Every Sunday, “Back in the Day” looks at an article that ran on this date in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items are verbatim, so don’t blame us today for yesteryear’s bad grammar.

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