TL;DR: So it appears that the Democracy Manifest guy was not Paul Charles Dozsa but in fact a man named Cecil George Edwards who was mistaken for Dozsa. You can find out more about him and the infamous video in this interview with Edwards.
Back in 2012, I ate at a restaurant in Hampstead, London, just outside the Royal Free Hospital where my dad was getting cancer treatment (he’s fine now). After I finished, I got up and walked out and about halfway between the restaurant and the hospital, I realised: I hadn’t paid. Then I asked myself two things – should I carry on or go back and pay? I couldn’t deal with the guilt of leaving without paying so I went back.
For some, eating and skipping the bill is a way of survival. But for others, it’s a form of arrogance and you’re gonna get caught eventually. Paul Charles Dozsa was the finest example. Born in Szeged, Hungary, in 1940, the former chef and world chess champion was eccentric to say the least. He described himself as a “Hungarian nobleman” and liked to wine and dine in the best hotels and restaurants in Australia where he spent his later life. But he didn’t like to pay for the privilege. He regularly left without paying – pleading poverty when asked. How you can say you are of noble heritage and say you’re poor is beyond me but there we are. Dozsa hustled his way through 54 of these acts. Attempt 55 was the final straw.
Or so people thought.
The infamous “Democracy Manifest” video that most of us now know was part of a longer video, taped by a reporter named Chris Reason for Australia’s Seven News. The full video shows a man being arrested but his real name – Cecil George Edwards – was revealed as well as the fact it was a case of mistaken identity. Edwards was later released that day. The shortened clip was uploaded to in 2009 and soon went viral. And, with viral content comes myths and speculation, which I clearly fell into myself.Other names suggested were John Bartlett and John Ziegler but none were true. It was Edwards all along.
Edwards’s identity wasn’t revealed until 2020 when an Australian punk band called The Chats made a music video for their track “Dine ‘N Dash” featuring the real Cecil George Edwards. The reasoning for his theatrics when arrested was to “appear crazy so he might be placed into an asylum where it would be easier to escape”.
For Dozsa, however, his ways of escaping payment included a misplaced wallet, bounced cheques, poverty, and convincing the restaurant that police involvement was a waste of time. As the venues for his crimes were always 5-star establishments, he was discreetly removed without arrest as not to disturb the guests. One such case involved feigning illness to avoid paying.
What is the charge? Eating a meal? A succulent Chinese meal?Edwards questioning the reason for his arrest
And the reasons for his crimes? The Hungarian Army had implanted a device in his head. He was half right though. At least with the head part. Dozsa passed away in 2003, apparently from a brain tumour (although the story revelation involved breaking the Hippocratic oath). The tumour might have explained the behaviour and his subsequent cognition. But I’m sure he died as he lived – by the seat of his pants with a full belly and no money to pay for the privilege.
And you, sir? Are you waiting to receive my limp penis?Edwards before being shoved into the car
For more info about Dozsa’s life (there’s a lot more, trust me) check out this forum thread. RIP Paul Charles Dozsa and long live Cecil George Edwards – the real Democracy Manifest Guy.