(In 2015, Hawaii legislators introduced a bill that aimed to make cockfighting a felony, but it didn’t pass.) In 2016, Honolulu police narcotics/vice officers made three arrests for cockfighting, and nine for illegal gambling.Tonto has spent a year in prison for the illegal sport.Many people operate completely in the black market, despite the risks of arrest, stigmatization and injury.Here are the stories of four kamaaina who work in Hawaii’s shadow economy, how much they make and why they do it.He joins two men huddled in one corner and holding a small, black rooster.Extending the rooster’s right leg, the older of the two men quickly wraps the leg with red ribbon.
Right after I got out, that weekend I was fighting.” Tonto says today he owns 15 chick- ens, breeding and raising them in his small backyard farm in Nanakuli.When he was a teenager, he competed in his first cockfight in an uncle’s back- yard. There are three main positions in cockfighting and Tonto is experienced in each.(That’s why he was asked to fight the black rooster at the Waianae fight, even though it wasn’t his bird.) There’s the rooster trainer, the heeler, who ties on the knife, and the pit- ter, who releases the bird inside the ring.Serious cockers are proud of their roosters and, because of the high stakes in their sport, they spend exor- bitantly on the birds. Tonto says a 50-pound bag costs , and only lasts a week.“The important thing in the gamecock world is the health.