Indonesian man fakes death to avoid debt collectors, inadvertently gets people to believe he came back to life

An Indonesian man faked his death to avoid debt collectors. Photo: Video screengrab
An Indonesian man faked his death to avoid debt collectors. Photo: Video screengrab

If you’ve been on the Indonesian internet over the past week, you might have seen a viral video depicting a supposedly dead man in an open casket coming back to life.

The incident received widespread coverage by local media, but we hesitated to report on the story as we believed there had to be a rational explanation for everything.

Oh boy, we were right.

In the viral video, a 40-year-old man identified by his initials US was seen lying (in more ways than one) in an open casket. Surrounded by several awestruck people who believed he was dead, US is seen slowly writhing as if he was coming back to life.

That video was taken on Friday, Nov. 11 at a clinic in Bogor, West Java. Some time prior to the events in the video, US and his wife paid for an ambulance with a casket to take them from their South Jakarta home to a house in Rancabungur District, Bogor Regency, where they said they were going to pick up the body of a deceased family member. 

The ambulance driver said the couple looked in good health when they boarded the vehicle.

They then requested a brief stop at a highway rest area, during which time US snuck into the casket in the back. The driver noticed that he was gone when they resumed their journey to Rancabungur.

The ambulance then resumed its journey to transport the casket to a clinic, presumably to have US pronounced dead. However, US “came back to life” at the clinic but appeared to be losing consciousness. He was transferred to Bogor General Hospital, which had to put out a statement denying that US passed away at any point amid the video going viral.

After launching a probe into the case, police yesterday said they learned that US faked his death with the help of his wife.

“The ambulance driver testified that they heard the wife complaining about the family’s debt and that many are coming to collect,” Bogor Police Chief Iman Imanuddin said.

Iman added that US and his wife will be questioned as soon as the former is fit and able.

Under Indonesian law, deliberately misleading authorities is a crime punishable by up to 1 year in prison.

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