This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
Twenty-four-year-old Kahar Muzakar from Aceh, Indonesia found himself in a predicament. He was scheduled to get married next month, but he failed to secure enough gold for a dowry. His ingenious solution? Orchestrate a fake mugging, then tie himself up under a bridge so that his fiance’s family would agree to postpone the wedding.
To seem like he was violently mugged, Muzakar rolled around in mud, pretended to be limp, and shouted for help. Despite his theatrics, police caught him in a lie after they found cracks in his story. It’s still unknown whether Muzakar will be charged.
“The wedding was set for next month, but he did not have enough dowry. He pretended to get mugged, and his plan was to say that the gold and the money for the remaining gold were stolen,” Dwi Purwoko, Head of East Aceh Police told local media on March 19. Muzakar promised his fiance’s family 43 grams of gold, but he only had roughly 6.6 grams before the fake mugging.
While putting on his act, passersby came to Muzakar’s aid. He told them that on March 17, six men forced him into a car and told him to surrender his valuables: 26.5 grams of gold and Rp11 million ($697) in cash, which he happened to be carrying. He said his attackers then beat him until he passed out, then he woke up the next day under a bridge.
Much to Muzakar’s surprise, police deployed a criminal research team, an intel team, and a narcotics squad to investigate when they caught wind of the “mugging.”
After taking eyewitness accounts and investigating what Muzakar claimed to be the crime scene, police began to notice inconsistencies in his story. He eventually cracked under pressure and admitted that he made the whole thing up.
Muzakar had actually been at a mosque on the night of March 17, stressing about his lack of dowry. There, he came up with the idea of fabricating a violent crime story.
Weirdly enough, this is not the first time someone pretended to get mugged as a cover for financial problems. In 2017, another Indonesian man named Agus Purwanto claimed that Rp100 million ($6,340) had been stolen from him when he happened to be heavily in debt. He tore up his shirt and jacket, wounded himself with a box cutter, and then made his way home. Police then scouted the crime scene, took eyewitness accounts, and tried to piece together Purwanto’s story.
Because his account did not add up, Purwanto told the truth under interrogation. “Purwanto admitted he was not mugged and that he fabricated the whole event. He owed a sibling Rp92 million ($5,833),” a police spokesperson told local media.
In a similar incident from 2018, two employees of a nationwide chain of convenience stores claimed they were robbed of Rp45 million ($2,853) while making a delivery. They said that a criminal stopped their truck, beat them up, and drove off, leaving them on the side of the highway. They then showed up at the police station, bloody and bruised, claiming they were victims of assault.
When police probed into the matter and found no evidence of a crime, the two employees admitted that they lied because they were in debt.
Well, there you have it. Not everyone is cut out to be an actor.