Australia: Man Arrested Over Suspicious Consulate Packages

Marsha Scott
January 11, 2019

Emergency crews were called to several consulates on Wednesday after being alerted by staff.

Police have arrested a man from north-east Victoria for allegedly sending 38 suspicious parcels to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. "There is no ongoing threat to the general public".

Police outside the Italian consulate in Melbourne.

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

Some of the packages were reported to contain what appeared to be concrete, and were labelled asbestos.

The Australian Federal Police said: "The man was arrested at his home last night and was charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service, contrary to section 471 of the Criminal Code Act 1995".

Police, who have recovered 29 of the parcels, said they would intercept the rest.

Police said they had recovered most of the packages.

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"The maximum penalty for the offence the man has been charged with is 10 years imprisonment", the statement added.

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

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

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

"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".

"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.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the matter had been referred to the Australian Federal Police, as well as Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The Australian Federal Police said it is investigating the incidents.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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