Victorian man arrested for allegedly sending suspicious packages to embassies

Local media quoted court documents saying the substance in the parcels was asbestos a cancer-causing material. — AFP

"He has since been charged with posting 38 packages of what is believed to have been asbestos to consulates across Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra", Cassie said.

More than a dozen foreign offices received suspicious packages on Wednesday, including the USA and British missions in Melbourne.

Australian police on Thursday (Jan 10) charged a 49-year-old man for sending as many as 38 suspicious packages containing a hazardous material to embassies and consulates around the country.

There has been no evidence yet that the packages were risky, but police Thursday said forensic testing was continuing to determine their exact contents.

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.

The 48-year-old was arrested at his home in Shepparton, Victoria state, on Wednesday night, and charged with sending unsafe articles to be carried by a postal service, police said.

Police said they have identified all the intended recipients and have put procedures in place to recover the outstanding packages.

The incident comes just days after emergency services were called to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney's CBD after reports that a suspicious substance was found in a parcel.

Some packages were reported to be labelled asbestos.

There was no ongoing threat to the public, authorities said.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not risky.

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

Greek vice-consul Georgia Botsiou told SBS Greek radio it had received the package on Friday afternoon.

The Pakistani consulate was delivered a package at 10am on Wednesday morning but only contacted authorities when prompted by an email from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, according to The Age.

DFAT told AAP it had sent an email to all Canberra diplomatic missions on Tuesday.

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

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

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