The Chaser has been arrested again.
I know it will be in the Australian news media but for anyone elsewhere :
Article by David Braithwaite, Sydney Morning Herald
September 6, 2007 - 8:00PM :
Eleven members of ABC's The Chaser have been charged and granted bail following their arrest in Sydney today.
Julian Morrow and Chas Licciardello, two of the stars of the satirical show, were among those detained by police today, after staging a fake motorcade through Sydney as part of an APEC week stunt.
They were charged under new APEC laws with entering a restricted area without justification.
The crew members were in a convoy of three cars and two motorbikes, which was reportedly ushered through two checkpoints in Sydney's APEC security zone.
The convoy was pulled over in Macquarie Street in a block adjacent to the InterContinental Hotel where US President George Bush is staying.
All 11 have been bailed to appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on October 4.
NSW Police Minister David Campbell denied he was embarrassed by the comedians' ability to penetrate APEC's restricted zone - rather, he was pleased the "multi-layered'' security had worked.
He said the prank was inappropriate and he "did not see the funny side at all''.
The Chaser's production team had been specifically warned by police to behave responsibly during the APEC security lockdown, he said.
"[The police] said: 'We understand that parody and satire are entertaining and fun, many people watch the program and enjoy it, but please understand the seriousness of this matter and please take caution as you go about making your program.'
"That seems to have been thrown out the window and that, I think, is inappropriate."
Their motorcade, branded with the Canadian flag, is understood to have passed through at least one police checkpoint in the declared zone.
The vehicle was pulled over near the corner of Bridge and Macquarie streets.
A police statement said the show's producers were earlier this week urged to consider the ramification of stunts during APEC.
No charges were brought when the team dressed up as a police horse yesterday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said that the fact the Chaser team was arrested showed the security system worked.
But he told an APEC news conference: "Whatever you think of the humour of the Chaser ... they were clearly not going to harm anybody in a physical way.
"They presumably were, as is the nature of their show, aiming to humiliate a lot of well-known people."
Chaser team member Chris Taylor told smh.com.au that the motorcade comprised "three cars, a couple of motorbikes, and a lot of crew".
"It was a motorcade trying to get into the exclusion zone," he said.
"No particular reason we chose Canada," said Taylor. "We just thought they'd be a country who the cops wouldn't scrutinise too closely, and who feasibly would only have three cars in their motorcade - as opposed to the 20 or so gas guzzlers that Bush has brought with him."
The vehicles in the motorcade were hired - two were black SUVs imported from the US, and the other was a regular car.
Police superintendent Ken McKay confirmed the arrests had been made using new powers available under the APEC Act.
(with Arjun Ramachandran and Andrew Meares and AAP)
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