Australia: Man arrested over suspicious parcels sent to embassies

Evarado Alatorre
Enero 10, 2019

A 49-year-old man has appeared in court over suspicious packages delivered to embassies and consulates throughout Australia.

The British consulate in Melbourne was one of 38 to be sent parcels, with officers continuing to test them to determine what substance they contain.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages".

There has been no evidence yet that the packages were risky, but police Thursday said forensic testing was continuing to determine their exact contents. The offense carries a maximum 10-year jail term.

On Wednesday a number of suspicious packages sent to consulates across Melbourne and Canberra were part of a "targeted" attack, Victoria Police confirmed. Victoria police said they believed the incidents were targeted and did not impact the general community.

A Victorian father has been charged with posting dozens of suspicious parcels containing asbestos to consulates and embassies across the country.

"It didn't have a return address, written on the top was "samples" and because it didn't have a return address and without it having a note inside, we thought it was suspicious and because of that, we isolated it from the start", vice consul Georgia Botsiou said.

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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.

The consulate was temporarily evacuated, but NSW Police confirmed on Tuesday the substance was not risky.

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

"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.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.

The suspicious packages sparked a major emergency response and evacuation of seven foreign consulates across Melbourne, with embassies in Canberra also hit.

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