More than 32 years after one of the most dramatic arrests ever seen in Australia, the detained man has revealed that not everything was as it seemed.
The legendary arrest for “succulent Chinese food” occurred on October 11, 1991 and was filmed by a Channel 7 news crew who had been tipped off about it.
“Gentlemen, this is democracy overt,” shouted Jack Karlson, a petty criminal and part-time actor, as police officers tried to bundle him into a police car.
“Take your hand off my penis,” he continued, speaking to news cameras while surrounded by officers outside a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane.
But almost a third of a century later, Karlson has revealed that no one grabbed his penis that day: he made up for it to show off.
More than 32 years after one of the most dramatic arrests (pictured) ever seen in Australia, the detained man has revealed that all was not as it seemed.
In an interview with New Zealand comedian and television personality Guy Williams, Karlson was asked why he claimed a police officer was touching his penis.
“Because they are arresting me,” he said. ‘You should be able to say things like that, right?’
In the original video, which has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, Karlson yelled at police officers more like a Shakespearean actor than a man arrested on suspicion of credit card fraud.
‘What is the charge? Eating a meal? “Delicious Chinese food,” she said.
‘Ooh, that’s a good headlock, sir. Ah yes, I see you know judo well.’
Karlson looked into the camera and stated that the arrest was a “manifesto of democracy.”
Nearly 33 years later, Karlson spoke openly about the experience.
“That manifesto speech of democracy, I was probably thinking, well, here it is again,” he said.
‘They’re doing the same thing again. The police come running in with guns and handcuffs. I thought, well, let’s make a show of it.’
Karlson was also asked about the long-held rumor that part of the reason for his rant while being arrested was that he was trying to break into an asylum.
‘Oh, I said that. Yes,’ she admitted.
—That’s what you told ABC. Were you talking shit? Williams asked.
‘Yeah. “Of course,” Karlson responded, his deep actor’s voice still in top form.
It turned out that the arrest that made him famous was a case of mistaken identity, but the minute-long clip has since become the subject of countless memes and even has its own Wikipedia page.
The story behind this has now been told in a book called Carnage: A Succulent Chinese Meal, Mr Rent-a-Kill and the Australian Manson Murders, by journalist Mark Dapin.
Small-time criminal and part-time actor Jack Karlson (pictured) has aged, but his booming voice remains intact.
Karlson is pictured being arrested in Brisbane on October 11, 1991 in front of a television news crew.
Dapin, author of two previous true crime studies about armed robbers and fugitives, describes Karlson as “definitely the most interesting criminal I’ve ever met.”
Karlson is a talented painter and actor who starred in a music video for punk rock band The Chats and appeared as an extra in the classic Australian television dramas Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police.
He has been locked up in prisons in Brisbane (Boggo Road), Sydney (Parramatta, Long Bay) and Melbourne (Pentridge), and has escaped from custody on three occasions.
But he has never lost the desire and ability to create a scene whenever the opportunity presents itself.