Millions of people watched Jack Karlson being arrested after a ‘succulent’ Chinese meal. Thirty years later, the Aussie larrikin has revealed the TRUTH about his run-in with the law – and all was not as it seemed…
More than 32 years after one of the most dramatic arrests Australia has ever seen, the man arrested has revealed all was not as it seemed.
The legendary ‘juicy Chinese meal’ arrest took place on 11 October 1991 and was filmed by a Channel 7 news crew who had been briefed on it.
“Gentlemen, this is a democracy manifesto,” shouted small-time crook and part-time actor Jack Karlson as police tried to get him into a police car.
‘Get your hand off my penis,’ he continued, blowing it up for the news cameras as he was surrounded by officers outside a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane.
But nearly a third of a century later, Karlson revealed that no one actually grabbed his penis that day — he made it up for show.
More than 32 years after one of the most dramatic arrests (pictured) Australia has ever seen, the man arrested has revealed that all was not as it seemed.
In an interview with New Zealand comedian and TV personality Guy Williams, Karlson was asked why he claims his penis was touched by a police officer.
“Because I’m getting arrested,” he said. “You should be able to say things like that, shouldn’t you?”
In the original video, which has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, Karlson yelled at cops in a more Shakespearean manner than a man being arrested on suspicion of credit card fraud.
‘What is the charge? Eating a meal? A succulent Chinese meal,’ he said.
‘Oh, that’s a nice headlock, sir. Oh yes, I see you know your judo well.’
Karlson looked at the camera and claimed the arrest was ‘democracy manifesto’.
Almost 33 years later, Karlson talks about the experience.
“That democracy manifesto address, I probably thought, well, here it is again,” he said.
‘They are doing the same thing again. The police run in with guns and handcuffs. I thought, well, let’s make a show of it all.’
Karlson was also asked about the long-standing rumor that part of the reason for his outburst while under arrest was that he was trying to get booked into an insane asylum.
“Oh, I said it. Yes,’ he admitted.
‘You said that to the ABC. Did you talk shit,’ asked Williams.
‘Yes. Of course,’ replied Karlson, his deep actor’s voice still in fine lines.
It turned out the arrest that made him famous was a case of mistaken identity, but the minute-long clip has since become the subject of numerous memes and even has its own Wikipedia page.
The story behind it 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 crook and part-time actor Jack Karlson (pictured) has aged, but his booming voice is still intact
Karlson is arrested in Brisbane on 11 October 1991 in front of a TV news crew.
Dapin, the author of two previous true-crime studies of armed robbers and escapees, describes Karlson as “definitely the most interesting crime I’ve ever encountered.”
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 classic Australian television dramas Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police.
He was locked up in prisons in Brisbane (Boggo Road), Sydney (Parramatta, Long Bay) and Melbourne (Pentridge) and escaped from custody three times.
But he has never lost his desire and ability to create a scene when the chance presents itself.