Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Man arrested for sending packages to Australian embassies and consulates

Victorian man arrested for allegedly sending suspicious packages to embassies Australian police arrest man over suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates
Kenny Thornton | 10 January, 2019, 17:30

Officials from the Pakistani and New Zealand consulates said the packages had the word "asbestos" written on the side, the ABC reports.

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

The AFP said assistance from Australia Post had been "crucial to the outcome of the investigation".

Australian police have arrested a man after 38 suspicious packages containing a possibly hazardous substance were sent to foreign consulates in the Australian cities of Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. The accused faced the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this afternoon.

The 49-year-old is also accused of accompanying the parcels with hand-written notes, claiming the substance was risky to the lungs.

A court sketch shows the accused wearing a T-shirt featuring the popular Minions cartoon character in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today.

The matter is due to return to court on 4 March. Police suspect the substance in the packages was sourced from the man's home.

Packages were sent to diplomatic missions of the United States, Britain, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Switzerland, Greece and Argentina, the AP reported.

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Police said they had recovered most of the packages. The Victoria state police said on January 9 that they believe the incidents are targeted, and that the general public is not at great risk.

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

Savas Avan appeared in a Melbourne court after being arrested at his home in rural Victoria state on Wednesday, the same day several consulates in Melbourne received the suspicious packages, authorities said.

"Similar advice was subsequently provided to consulates around Australia".

Twenty-nine of the packages have been recovered. (AAP) Authorities outside the Korean Consulate.

"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

"The maximum penalty for the offence the man has been charged with is 10 years imprisonment", the statement added.

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