Indonesia Expat
Scams in the City

The “Princess” Lied

Azura Luna
Azura Luna

An Indonesian woman based in Hong Kong posed as a philanthropist princess in order to scam her foreign lovers and friends.

Have you ever craved attention? Yearned to be rich, popular and admired? Then why not tell a bunch of outrageous lies. Eventually, you’ll be exposed as a phony, but the ride will be interesting.

That’s the case of Indonesian socialite Azura Luna Mangunhardjono, who spent about 15 years in Hong Kong before being unmasked as a fraud. She used a combination of charisma, seduction and outright lies to convince people to part with their money.

What We Know
Azura told so many different versions of her life story that it’s difficult to ascertain the truth. Following are details uncovered by the Hong Kong media, mostly by The South China Morning Post in early December.

She was married to Canadian Brad Kirk, who was General Manager of the Bali Hyatt from 1997 to 2003. Kirk first brought Azura to Hong Kong in 2003, when he relocated there for work. Their marriage ended “over nine years ago” – around 2010. These days, Kirk declines to discuss her.

Azura was enamoured by Hong Kong’s wealthy high society and sought to join its ranks. She loved mingling with the rich and famous. She had a series of affluent boyfriends and persuaded them to spend money on her, often claiming she needed the money for her family.

In 2010, she launched a jewellery company called Pavitra in Hong Kong with her Swiss business partner Mathias Hug, whom she allegedly scammed.

She rented a luxury apartment on Robinson Road in Hong Kong. Solicitors representing Wellfine Properties, the developer of the apartment, in March 2019 claimed she owed HK$460,000 (US$59,000 or Rp828 million) in rent and fees. They later obtained a court order to remove her belongings. Azura insists her belongings were stolen, and that she sent the landlord a cheque that was never received.

A former friend says Azura owes her £20,000 (Rp369 million) for a wine bill. Others claim she lacked a credit card when restaurant bills arrived. A Hong Kong organisation reported Azura to police after she failed to pay her winning bid of HK$170,000 (US$21,755 or Rp305 million) for an auctioned item.

Azura’s maid of eight years in 2019 filed a labour tribunal report, claiming she is owed HK$76,000 (US$9,725 or Rp136 million) in wages. Azura claims the maid stole from her.

Azura once sold “shares” in a pink diamond. One couple invested US$250,000 (Rp3.5 billion) and later requested their money back, only to be partly repaid in instalments. They say Azura still owes them US$65,000 (Rp912 million).

In November 2018, a Beverly Hills socialite complained to police she had paid Azura US$86,000 (Rp1.2 billion) for Hermes bags that were for charity, but the bags turned out to be fakes. On November 26, 2018, West Hollywood Police arrested Azura at a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel for selling items under false pretences. She was released the same day after intervention by two lawyers, but she could face an arrest warrant if she returns to the area.

Azura sold Indonesian artworks of dubious provenance, ostensibly to raise money for charities. She also allegedly borrowed a painting from a friend for a special event and never returned it.

A Hong Kong-based charity called THE ONE International, says Azura in 2013 did donate HK$20,000 (US$2,563 or Rp36 million) to its annual humanitarian award and the funds went towards building an orphanage in Bangladesh.

In March 2019, Azura paid for four days’ rent for a luxury Paris apartment, which she declared she intended to buy. She was allowed to live there rent-free pending the sale, but it never happened, so she was evicted, leaving the owner out of EUR39,000 (US$43,454 or Rp610 million) in rent.

She has allegedly skipped out of Italian luxury hotels without paying her bills.

The Tales She Told
Note that many of the tales Azura told about her family are contradictory.

• Being a princess, she attended boarding schools all over the world and was one of the most gifted children ever. She’s also a concert pianist.
• She is a psychology graduate from Dartmouth College. Also studied at Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in aerospace engineering. She is now taking an online course in molecular biology.
• Only flies by her private jet.
• Born in Germany and never lived in Indonesia, except in Bali when with her future husband. Grew up in Africa, Europe, Egypt, and India, as her father worked with refugees all over the world.
• Her family is among the ten wealthiest in Indonesia. Her mother is a lawyer, who helped Bill Clinton get elected.
• Inherited US$30 million (Rp420 billion) from her father and has a monthly allowance of $150,000 (Rp2.1 billion).
• Her parents died when she was 11 years old. They were international humanitarians, killed in East Timor when shielding her from bullets.
• She came from a poor family of farmers and her father often requires expensive surgeries.
• Her mother was from Gujarat, India, and her father was Chinese-Dutch-Indonesian.
• Her family owns 10 percent of the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong and she owns a 15-bedroom mansion in London and a Rolls Royce.
• Her mother now lives in Spain, while her father needs money to pay off an extortionate girlfriend. In 2017, she allegedly asked a boyfriend for $150,000 (Rp2.1 billion) to cover her father’s funeral costs.
• Owns a wine collection worth EUR20 million (US$22 million or Rp308 billion) and stored in Switzerland.
• Left Hong Kong because people created fake Tinder accounts and sent men to her door.
• Presently works for a charity in Luanda, Angola, where she has broken her ankle. Also, she is five months pregnant with twins.

What Indonesia Has Said
Many Indonesian netizens have expressed their admiration of Azura’s brazen audacity. The Indonesian media seized on an anonymous post on the Scamion website that claims Azura’s real name is Enjang Widhi Palupi and that she was born in Kediri, East Java, on October 27, 1978.

Hong Kong media reports state that one of her expired Indonesian passports lists her name as Azura Luna Mangunhardjono Kirk, born in Jakarta on October 27, 1974.

Attention

Indonesian police have said they are ready to help track her down, if there is a request from Hong Kong or Interpol. National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said police cannot apprehend her in Indonesia without such a request, as her alleged crimes took place in Hong Kong.

The Indonesian Consulate General in Hong Kong acknowledged it had issued a passport in Azura Luna’s name in 2016 and said it would provide her with legal assistance, if required. Indonesian Vice Consul for Information and Sociocultural Affairs, Vani Alexandra Lijaya, on December 9 said Azura was not presently known to be in Hong Kong.

For now, Azura’s whereabouts are unknown and it remains to be seen whether she will be able to reinvent herself. Don’t be surprised when her escapades inspire a book and film.

Image Source: wolipop.detik.com

See: Beware of Instagram Groomers

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