Published: Thu, January 10, 2019

Man in Australia arrested after 38 suspicious packages sent to foreign consulates

Man in Australia arrested after 38 suspicious packages sent to foreign consulates

He was charged with sending unsafe articles to be carried by a postal service and has been remanded in custody following a Melbourne Magistrates' Court hearing today.

Some 38 parcels were sent to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney yesterday.

Savas Avan allegedly sent 38 packages to embassies and consulates in Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

On Wednesday, emergency services raced to a string of diplomatic facilities in Melbourne that had received the suspect packages.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages", the AFP said in a statement.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community", Victorian Police said on Wednesday.

AAP reported at least two foreign consulates in Melbourne did not contact authorities about suspicious packages in their possession until they received an email from the government.

"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. It said the Israeli Embassy in Canberra also received a suspicious package.

Diplomatic missions across Australia were evacuated as a precautionary measure, with no casualties reported.

Emergency services were called to French, Greek, Indian, Italian, New Zealand, Pakistani, South Korean, Spanish, Swiss and US consulates in Melbourne on January 9.

Police tape at the locked down Italian consulate.

A Commonwealth prosecutor told the court the deliveries contained asbestos.

The building was deemed "safe" and employees were able to reenter the building by 3pm.

In an incredible coincidence, Australian authorities practiced an emergency drill including hazmat response at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, on the day that the package was opened by its sister office in Melbourne.

It came two days after Sydney's Argentinian consulate was partially evacuated following reports of a suspicious substance. The powder was deemed not unsafe by New South Wales police.

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