How trusted is Canada around the world? Consider this: Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Australia for a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Sydney. But little did he know that his presence and the Canadian flag would be used to pull off a bizarre gag that hasn't left security forces there laughing.

It happened on Thursday, when comedians from a local Australian TV show put a red and white maple leaf flag on three large cars and two motorcycles and drove through two checkpoints - with one man inside dressed like Osama bin Laden. The motorcade was waved through twice before finally being pulled over close to the hotel where U.S. President George W. Bush is staying.

Red-faced cops, who have spent months gearing up for the APEC summit with the tightest security in the country's history, arrested 11 cast and crew members. Things are so tight, local cafes near the site have been ordered not to put knives or forks on their tables, over fears they could potentially be used as weapons.

So no one can explain why the group wasn't caught earlier. And most are not amused by the comedians' actions. "Whilst I enjoy like everyone else a good laugh, this isn't funny," Superintendent Dave Owens responds. "I'm very angry that such a stunt like this could be pulled."

Those behind the incident claim they chose Canada because it seemed the least likely to attract suspicion. "We just thought they'd be a country who the cops wouldn't scrutinize 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," cast member Chris Taylor told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Still, leave it to a politician to put a positive spin on things. The country's foreign minister claims the fact the group was stopped before reaching Bush's inn is proof things are working. "They presumably were ... aiming to humiliate a lot of well-known people," avers Alexander Downer. "The point is they were in any case arrested."