A man from Co. Down, Northern Ireland called 999, the equivalent of 911, to tell emergency services that a local Chinese restaurant was not answering its phone on Monday.
999 Staff members reminded the hungry Northern Irishman that the number was for emergency situations only. He replied that it was an emergency because he wanted to order take out.
On their Facebook page, PSNI Ards, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) updated their status to, “Man on the 999 number this evening complaining that his local chinese weren’t answering their phone. When he was reminded that 999 was strictly for emergencies he stated it was an emergency as he wanted to order a meal. I have arranged for the local neighborhood officer to call with this man and give him some advice. SM Insp.” One Facebook user commented, “Don’t forget his fortune cookie lol.”
Faux emergency calls may result in a $8,000 fine or imprisonment if convicted. Between 2006 and 2008 there were 26,000 hoax emergency calls in Northern Ireland. Only 13 were convicted over the three year period.
See the PSNI Facebook post below:
Health Minister Edwin Poots has encouraged harsher reactions to hoax calls because they endanger people and waste money that could be spent elsewhere. Hoax calls cost about $14,500 per day, which totals close to $5 million per year. He told the Belfast Telegraph: “Let’s be clear- hoax calls can cost lives. No firefighter can be in two places at once.”