A Succulent Australian Mystery: Just Who Is the Bloke in This Iconic Video?

The mysterious arrest of a man in Sydney in the 1980s is one of the funniest internet sensations ever. The fundamental issue is: who was this man, despite his memorable catchphrases like “Democracy manifest” and odd behaviour?

People have been disseminating the popular online video that purports to show an arrest in Sydney for years. The individual in question is reportedly Australian chess master Paul Charles Dozsa, a native of Hungary who rose to renown in the 1980s as a “restaurant runner.”

Dozsa is shown being escorted into a waiting car by police officers. At the same time, he bravely defies their efforts in the footage, sometimes combined with remarks about it being one of the most eloquent arrests ever.

Every line of Dozsa’s dialogue is quotable since he has a voice that Shakespearean actors would kill for, with phrases like “gentlemen, this is democracy manifest,” “what is the charge? Consuming a meal? The film almost seems to have been written to go viral, complete with the traditional “I see that you know your judo well” and the question, “How about a sumptuous Chinese meal?”

According to a 2015 article, Paul Charles Dozsa was a frequent user of the dine-and-dash strategy who had been detained 54 times (by 1995, this number had increased to 111) for his behaviour. 

A rumour had it that Dozsa had been a chef in the past. He allegedly employed several strategies to avoid paying a bill, including leaving his cash in the house, faking a cardiac arrest, and asking the eatery for assistance.


Image Source- Instagram

However, several people who knew Paul Charles Dozsa came forward to share the stories they knew about him after his death, apparently in 2003.

A user on the OzChess site said in 2012 that Dozsa was “wanted by police in Hungary, Indonesia and by Interpol” when he arrived in Australia in 1965 and that he had also aroused the interest of New Zealand police when playing chess in Christchurch.

Dozsa “described himself as a nobleman from Hungary,” the user wrote, “and was typically quite well clothed putting on cravats, etc. and gave an image that he was a person of riches and owner of a string of high-class restaurants.”

“Back then, Dozsa routinely skipped paying the bill while staying at the best five-star hotels in every Australian city (using several identities). Dozsa frequented Australia’s top restaurants for meals and drinks.

“His expertise in high-end wines and cuisine was exceptional. Of course, he occasionally found himself behind bars.

He assured the magistrate that he was deeply sorry for his behaviour and said the restaurant had the best food and wine he had ever tasted; his expressed contrition resulted in a lower punishment.

“Dozsa thought of himself as the most well-known person in the world for not paying restaurant bills, and he boasted about his accomplishments to everyone he met. I repeatedly reminded him and others that he was a social threat and a repeat offender.

The charges mentioned in the famous video stack up; however, the man in the movie is not Paul Charles Dozsa, according to everyone who asserted to have spent time with him.


One commenter on an article about the video from 2013 vehemently asserted, “This is certainly not Paul Dozsa!”

According to Susan Bako, he had a unique dialect, didn’t look like the person in the video, and spoke differently from Sean Connery. “His beard and curling greying hair made him heavier. His eyes and nose were unique.

This is a reenactment because he never raised his voice; thus, it is not a figure of speech. He would have invited the police to dinner if he had known their sense of humour.

“Yes, he has been detained numerous times, but not for the offence seen in this video. Because he was too courteous to dispute, he entered the jail softly and never raised his voice. He had mental health concerns and was intelligent.

Some people have taken this to heart and compared their appearance to establish that the two men are different. A distant cry from the smooth sounds of the person screaming ” farewell and ta ta and manifest democracy” They have even spoken with individuals that swear that Dosza preserved his distinctive Hungarian dialect till his demise.

Lastly, Paul Charles Dosza’s life narrative is undoubtedly difficult. He used so many fictitious names that, at his death, neither Crimestoppers nor his close friends thought he had passed away.

Who is the man in the “democracy manifest” video, then, is the question that demands an answer? The famous video itself is the best source of information we have at our disposal.

The fact that the arrest tape was expertly shot is something that many people seem to overlook. It was videotaped with what looks to be at least three cameras, with multiple seamless cuts occurring throughout, rather than looking to be unstaged pictures of a man being bundled into a police car.

This supports Susan Bako’s assertion that the video represents a reenactment. The question then turns to who the man in the middle of the film is (and why, as far as we know, he never acted again) and why a reenactment was necessary.

However, it’s interesting that some people have even asserted that the actor portraying Dosza is the late Australian politician John Bartlett, who remarkably resembles the actor.

Even though Bartlett was born in England (which would account for the actor’s posh voice), he didn’t run for office in his state until 1999, more than ten years after the video was recorded. Bartlett sadly passed away in 2008, making it unable to contact him for any details.

On a weirdly connected note, during his 2014 series The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern, British comedian Simon Day firmly name-checked John Bartlett as the man in the video where a phony charity record named “Succulent Chinese Meal” is recognised as one of the most popular of all time.


Image Source- Instagram

What do we know, then? Paul Charles Dosza, who had a history of avoiding paying his bills at Australian restaurants, was a real person with a real criminal record, and we know that he eventually passed away in 2003.

We know that the infamous video was professionally produced, most likely for a reenactment or broadcast event and that Dosza is not the person featured in the video.

We have yet to find out who plays the lead role in the video, why it was made, or why it remains a mystery after all these years.

Though its origins are unknown, some people on Reddit’s Unresolved Mysteries thread appear to think that the infamous video of the man yelling “Democracy manifest” may be a parody or satire of an actual event.

The circumstances surrounding one of the most notorious viral films in the history of the internet might remain a mystery for a while unless someone in the know can come forward with firsthand knowledge of the incident and its recording in question.

One of the most obscure riddles anyone has ever heard of may remain a mystery until then. Ta ta for now, in the immortal words of that legendary character.

Unbelievably, Brown Cardigan posted a video of the man speaking a few lines from the well-known footage to establish his identification about when this piece was written. We’ve contacted Brown Cardigan to inquire further about the clip.