Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Suspicious packages sent to foreign missions in Australia

Suspicious packages sent to foreign missions in Australia

Suspicious packages were sent to more than a dozen foreign embassies and consulates in major Australian cities on Wednesday in a seemingly orchestrated but scattershot campaign.

"Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages to embassies and consulates.The packages are being examined by attending emergency services".

"Police have so far recovered 29 of these packages, with forensic testing to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them", the federal and state police said in a joint statement.

Photos from outside the Indian Consulate show evacuated staff, two fire trucks, hazardous material vehicles and police in attendance.

"We handled the package according to our standard procedures and in close co- ordination, with local authorities. who are investigating the incident", a USA spokesman said.

They were allowed to re-enter the building, which was deemed "safe" by Vic Emergency by 3pm.

Worldwide consulates in Melbourne and Canberra, including the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Korea, and Russian Federation are believed to be affected, according to Australian news agencies 10 Daily and 9 News.

Firefighters and Ambulance Victoria paramedics were attending the Indian Consulate and US Consulate on St Kilda Road. In Canberra, several embassies were the target.

Similar parcels have reportedly been delivered to consulates and embassies of the United States, Germany, India, New Zealand, Korea, Greece, Egypt and Switzerland in Melbourne.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade station officer Bryan Kellett said a suspicious "envelope-sized" package was delivered to the Indian consulate last week, but that the alarm was not raised until Wednesday.

One firefighter was seen outside the South Korean consulate carrying a large plastic bag with the word "asbestos" written on it. Inside were plastic sandwich bags containing fibrous material.

Emergency service personel exit the building where the Korean consulate is located in Melbourne.

"It's believed to be non-hazardous, however, they're treating it as a hazardous", she said.

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