Australia cops examine packages left at consulates, including India’s

10 January, 2019, 17:30 | Author: Myra Gill
  • A Victoria Police forensic officer carries items to be loaded into a trailer outside the Italian consulate in Melbourne

Police said the packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scaring of the lungs.

Police say a 48-year-old man was arrested at his home in Shepparton, Victoria state, on Wednesday night, and charged with sending unsafe articles to be carried by a postal service.

The suspect to be produced in a Melbourne court later Thursday morning to face charges of sending risky materials through the post.

The 48-year-old Shepparton man appeared in court today.

The packages were believed to contain an unidentified substance sourced from the man's home at Shepparton, about 200km (125 miles) north of Melbourne, police said.

Avan will next appear in court in March.

A Victorian man has been arrested over 38 suspicious packages sent to foreign embassies and consulates in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

He was apprehended last night at his home, with images obtained by 9News showing police in hazmat gear assessing the suspect's home. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages", the AFP said in a statement.

The Indian and United States consulates on St Kilda Road, along with the British, Swiss, German Korean, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian missions were targeted.

The incident comes just days after emergency services were called to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney's CBD after reports that a suspicious substance was found in a parcel.

Police, who have recovered 29 of the parcels, said they would intercept the rest. Officials at the U.S. and Swiss missions in the city said they had also received packages.

Taiwan's representative office in Melbourne, Australia, received a suspicious package on January 9, alongside 37 other packages sent to consulates and embassies across Australia.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs had raised the alarm with all diplomatic missions in Canberra on Tuesday after similar incidents were reported at offices in Sydney and the Australian Capital Territory.

"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", a DFAT spokesman said.



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