Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Australian police charge man over hazardous parcels sent to diplomatic offices

Australian police charge man over hazardous parcels sent to diplomatic offices

The ABC and Fairfax Media report that the packages contained cement and broken tiles in regular envelopes, with some packages including a note reading "asbestos".

Australian police on Thursday (Jan 10) charged a 49-year-old man for sending as many as 38 suspicious packages containing a hazardous material to embassies and consulates around the country.

On Wednesday suspicious packages were received at embassies in Canberra as well as the US, Pakistani, Swiss, Indian, South Korean, New Zealand, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish consulates in Melbourne.

Police said they have identified all the intended recipients and have put procedures in place to recover the outstanding packages.

"Forensic testing [is] to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them", the AFP said in a statement on Thursday. "There is no ongoing threat to the general public", it added.

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.

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Police said it would be alleged in court that the suspect sent 38 parcels to the consulates and embassies of foreign countries including Germany, the United Kingdom and the US. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

"Today (Wednesday) we received communication from the diplomatic body here in Victoria that there are suspicious packets circulating and that we should contact the police if we've received something and we have contacted the police", Ms Botsiou said, translated from Greek.

DFAT said IT had sent an email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions yesterday, and then to other consulates across Australia.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.

DFAT said in a statement that after learning of the suspicious packages sent to three offices in Sydney and Canberra it notified all diplomatic missions on Tuesday and warned officials to be cautious with their mail.

A worker at the Pakistani consulate in Melbourne opened one of the packages about 10am on Wednesday.

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