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GAMBLING

Cockfighting is almost always accompanied by lucrative gambling.

"We don't think it's violence as it's a kind of sport," said a regular punter Suwan Cheunchom, 35, after winning 500 baht on a round which ended in a tie...

...A few weeks later the same stadium raked in 22.2 million baht for a record breaking bet...

Thailand is dotted with much larger, official cockfighting stadiums that draw vast, big-spending crowds.

At the Bangkok Cockpit in Samut Prakan province, a 1,000-strong crowd cheers on a pair of avian fighters whose necks are locked in combat as bets furiously exchange hands.

The birds do not usually fight to the death, as in many parts of the world, but they can still inflict fatal damage to their opponent.

Unlike in the Philippines, where roosters can be seen fighting with blades attached to their feet [with fights often ending in death], Thailand's birds usually compete with their spurs wrapped in fabric.

The cocks are judged on their fighting prowess rather than their ability to kill, with proponents holding that such protections mean "there are not many injuries".

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