Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Man held over suspicious packages to Pak, other embassies in Australia

Man held over suspicious packages to Pak, other embassies in Australia

A man was arrested in the Victorian town of Shepparton, with police suspecting that the material sent to diplomatic missions came from his home.

More than a dozen foreign missions received suspicious packages on Wednesday, including the consulates of the United States and the United Kingdom in Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city.

Australian police arrested a Shepparton man after he allegedly mailed 38 packages containing a risky substance to diplomatic missions throughout southeast Australia.

Police arrested the 48-year-old man last night at his home in Shepparton, a 100km north east of Melbourne.

The man has been charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service and is due to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court this morning.

They identified all the intended recipients and were working to recover the remaining packages, but said there was no ongoing risk to the public.

The packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scarring of the lungs.

There has been no evidence yet that the packages were risky, but police Thursday said forensic testing was continuing to determine their exact contents. The powder was deemed not unsafe by New South Wales police.

The British, Greek, Indian, New Zealand, South Korean, Spanish, Taiwanese, and Turkish consulates in Melbourne were also evacuated.

"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", Botsiou said, translated from Greek.

"It didn't have a return address, written on the top was "samples" and because it didn't have a return address and without it having a note inside, we thought it was suspicious and because of that, we isolated it from the start".

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the matter had been referred to the Australian Federal Police, as well as Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

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

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.

Like this: