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Suspicious packages mailed to consulates in Australia: Man arrested

10 January 2019

A Commonwealth prosecutor told the court the deliveries contained asbestos.

Australian police claimed that the man was arrested at his home in rural Victoria state late Wednesday, hours after several consulates - including Pakistani mission - in Melbourne received the suspicious packages.

The Australian Federal Police has not yet confirmed if the two incidences are believed to be related.

He was charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service and is scheduled to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

The man is expected to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning.

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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.

Avan will next appear in court in March.

Police will allege the man sent 38 parcels to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, containing a substance sourced from his home.

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

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.

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Police, who have recovered 29 of the parcels, said they would intercept the rest. 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 maximum penalty for the offence the man has been charged with is 10 years imprisonment", the statement added. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

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

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.

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Suspicious packages mailed to consulates in Australia: Man arrested