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Man in Australia arrested over suspicious consulate packages

10 January 2019

The suspect to be produced in a Melbourne court later Thursday morning to face charges of sending unsafe materials through the post.

He was arrested at his Shepparton home last night.

Australian police arrested a man after 38 suspicious packages containing a possibly hazardous substance were sent to foreign consulates in the Australian cities of Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

The South Korean, Indian and New Zealand consulates in Melbourne were all evacuated after receiving packages.

Authorities are yet to confirm what was in the parcels, but early reports suggested they appeared to contain asbestos.

Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police said in a joint statement they will allege the substance in the packages was sourced from the man's home.

He was charged with sending unsafe materials through the post.

Police have so far recovered 29 of the packages and identified "all intended recipients".

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

Mr Pallas was pleased with the swift response by authorities.

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

Taiwan's representative office in Melbourne, Australia, received a suspicious package on January 9, alongside 37 other packages sent to consulates and embassies across Australia.

It is understood the envelope, which looked like a normal letter, was addressed to the Consulate-General of Pakistan. Some packages were labeled with the word "asbestos".

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

"It didn't have a return address".

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

DFAT said in a statement that after learning of the suspicious packages sent to three offices in Sydney and Canberra it notified all diplomatic missions on Tuesday and warned officials to be cautious with their mail.

Avan did not apply for bail and is expected back in court on March 4.

Man in Australia arrested over suspicious consulate packages