Drunk threatened city with TV remote

CANBERRA Thu Feb 7, 2008 9:27am EST

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CANBERRA (Reuters) - A drunken man's threat to blow up half a city with his television remote control forced Australian police to declare a state of emergency at a luxury golf resort, a local court heard Thursday.

Geoffrey Martin Fryatt, 57, a resident of the Fairways Golf and Lifestyle Retreat in Brisbane, was arrested by elite paramilitary police after terrifying neighbors with a knife and threatening to detonate a store of chemicals with the TV remote.

"One push of the button will blow up half of Brisbane," Fryatt shouted in the standoff last May before police in the Queensland state capital opened fire with rubber bullets.

Fryatt's lawyer told the Brisbane District Court that his client lost control after losing much of his life savings in a fraud carried out by his finance broker, local media said.

"People are genuinely scared of sudden explosions," the judge said, sentencing Fryatt to a year's probation. "Frightening members of the public with threats of bombs and bomb hoaxes has a much greater impact than it once did," she said.

Fryatt accepted probation, but said he was concerned it could interrupt plans to travel overseas to do humanitarian aid work, the Brisbane Times newspaper reported.

"Let's get you right before we send you off to a third world country," the judge said.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor, editing by David Fox)

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