From Schneier on Security:
October 03, 2007
Latest Terrorist False Alarm: Chili Peppers
Three streets were closed and people evacuated from the area as the search was carried out. After locating the source at about 7pm, emergency crews smashed their way into the Thai Cottage restaurant in D’Arblay Street only to emerge with a 9lb pot of smouldering dried chillies.Baffled chef Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon, who had been cooking a spicy dip, was amazed to find himself at the centre of the terror scare.
“We only cook it once a year — it’s a spicy dip with extra hot chillies that are deliberately burned,” he said.
“To us it smells like burned chilli and it is slightly unusual. I can understand why people who weren’t Thai would not know what it was but it doesn’t smell like chemicals. I’m a bit confused.”
Were this the U.S., that restaurant would be charged with terrorism, or creating a fake bomb, or anything to make the authorities feel better. On the other hand, at least the cook wasn’t shot.
EDITED TO ADD (10/4): Common sense:
The police spokesman said no arrests were made in the case.”As far as I’m aware it’s not a criminal offense to cook very strong chili,” he said.
EDITED TO ADD (10/11): The BBC has a recipe, in case you need to create your own chemical weapon scare.