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Man Charged Over Suspicious Packages Sent To Consulates
10 January 2019, 05:30 | Darnell Patrick
Australian police arrest man over suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates
On Wednesday, emergency services raced to a string of diplomatic facilities in Melbourne which had received packages containing suspected hazardous material.
Australian police are investigating suspicious packages found at foreign consulates and embassies in Melbourne and Canberra.
"Forensic testing [is] to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them", the AFP said in a statement on Thursday.
The ABC and Fairfax Mediareport that the packages contained cement and broken tiles in regular envelopes, with some packages including a note reading "asbestos".
While forensics police searched his Shepparton home, Mr Avan faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday morning wearing red shorts and a blue Minions T-shirt from the Despicable Me movie series with the slogan "more than meets the eye".
The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with sending unsafe articles through a postal service, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.
This followed the discovery and removal on Monday of a suspicious package at the Argentinian Consulate in Sydney.
Police said they have identified all the intended recipients and have put procedures in place to recover the outstanding packages.
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There is no ongoing threat to the public, authorities said.
The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not unsafe.
The Greek consulate general on St Kilda Road and the Pakistan consulate in Albert Park both received suspect packages but did not contact authorities straight away.
Greek vice-consul Georgia Botsiou told SBS Greek radio it had received the package on Friday afternoon.
DFAT told AAP it had sent an email to all Canberra diplomatic missions on Tuesday.
DFAT said IT had sent an email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions yesterday, and then to other consulates across Australia.
"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.
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