Australia: Man arrested over suspicious parcels sent to embassies

7 News reporter Cassie Zervos told Nick McCallum the Australian Federal Police arrested Avan last night.

SYDNEY: Australian police have arrested a 48-year-old man for allegedly sending dozens of suspicious packages to embassies and consulates, including the Pakistani mission, around the country on Wednesday.

They identified all the intended recipients and were working to recover the remaining packages, but said there was no ongoing risk to the public.

"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", it said.

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

The substance in the packages is "suspected to have been sourced from his Shepparton home" in Northern Victoria, police said.

The first parcel was received at the Argentinian consulate in Sydney on Monday and contained powder in clear plastic bags inside an envelope.

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A man wearing hazardous materials suit is seen exiting the building where the South Korean consulate is located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 09 January 2019. The powder was deemed not risky by New South Wales police. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

An official from the Greek consulate told SBS Greek radio they first became suspicious due to the lack of return address.

DFAT said in a statement that these events prompted it to notify all diplomatic missions on Tuesday to be cautious with their mail.

"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.

"They were very quick on to it, they provided advice to the relevant consular residences and in practical terms we learnt very quickly, that evening, that the substance was inert", he said.

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

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