In a 30-second video that made the rounds on Indonesian social media last week, a man in a green jacket is seen making a police report. His complaint? That he had been scammed and sent a pack of celery instead of the weed he ordered.
In the video, the police officers can be seen laughing while hearing the report and asking the man to open the paper packet he was holding. True enough, it did contain some celery and what looks like your run-of-the-mill grass (not for smoking).
The incident took place on March 28. The original video was uploaded by Instagram user @Palembang_Bedesau, but it went viral when it was reposted on the account @potretpalembang. According to police commissioner Mario Invanry, head of the narcotics unit of the Palembang Police, the report was filed at the Palembang police station in South Sumatra.
“I bought it for 50,000 Rupiah ($3.49), sir,” the scammed man, who claimed to be a motorcycle taxi rider, told the police officers. “But it was only ordinary leaves.”
After the laughs, one of the officers told him that weed is classified as a drug, and that he could be prosecuted for possessing it. But, eventually, the authorities decided to let him go, Invanry told local media, confirming the video’s authenticity.
This isn’t the first time sellers have tried to pass other items as weed in Indonesia. In June 2016, the country’s national narcotics agency arrested a dealer in Sukabumi, West Java, on suspicion of trafficking illicit drugs. The police confiscated two packets of dried leaves from the perpetrator and sent it to the narcotics agency’s lab for examination, only to find out that they weren’t actually weed.
“The dried leaves were not ganja leaves. It’s fake,” said Dani Yus Daniel, who served as the head of the narcotics agency in the Sukabumi branch at the time, according to local reports.
However, an incident from earlier this year still holds up as one of the most epic drug frauds in the country. Several intelligence officers were tasked by regional police to investigate allegations of drug trafficking in Medan, a city in North Sumatra. They found two men claiming to be selling methamphetamine, but further examination revealed that the three kilogram packets they were in possession of actually contained table salt. They were later arrested anyway.