Victorian man charged over suspect embassy packages

Victorian man charged over suspect embassy packages

Local media quoted court documents saying the substance was asbestos, a cancer-causing material once widely used in construction, but a police spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the reports.

A Victorian man has faced court accused of sending 38 suspicious packages to embassies and consulates in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, forcing closures and evacuations.

Savas Avan was charged with sending unsafe articles through the postal service, Australian law enforcement officials said in a statement.

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.

Police say there is no ongoing threat to the public as they have identified all other recipients of the remaining parcels and have processes in place to seize them.

Officers have so far recovered 29 of the packages, with forensic testing now underway to determine the exact substance in them.

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

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

The packages were sent two days after an envelope containing powder was sent to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney.

Staff at New Zealand's consulate were evacuated as a precautionary measure. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

"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".

Around 10 diplomatic missions, mostly in Melbourne, on Wednesday reported the delivery of suspicious packages, some of them labelled "asbestos".

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.

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.

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