Man arrested for sending packages to Australian embassies and consulates

Man arrested for sending packages to Australian embassies and consulates

Mr Avan is expected back in court on March 4, and if found guilty faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

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

A spokesman for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the country's consulate in Melbourne received a suspicious package and "staff were evacuated from the consulate as a precautionary measure".

Savas Avan, 49, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with sending risky items by post.

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.

Police have so far recovered 29 packages, which will be forensically tested, police said.

Police alleged that the man had sent 38 parcels in all to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Police said it would be alleged in court that the suspect sent 38 parcels to the consulates and embassies of foreign countries including Germany, the United Kingdom and the US.

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Police said they have identified all the intended recipients and have put procedures in place to recover the outstanding packages.

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

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.

Some consulate workers reported seeing packages labeled "asbestos".

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

An official at Pakistan's consulate told ABC she opened a suspicious envelope Wednesday morning "which appeared to contain asbestos".

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

"After learning of incidents at three offices in Sydney and Canberra, DFAT sent a note to all diplomatic missions in Canberra on 8 January alerting them to the possibility of suspicious packages being delivered by mail".

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