Australian police arrest man over suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates

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The packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scarring of the lungs.

The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with sending risky articles through a postal service, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement on Thursday.

The AFP said assistance from Australia Post had been "crucial to the outcome of the investigation".

Savas Avan, 49, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon, charged with sending 38 unsafe articles in the post; a Commonwealth offence. The accused faced the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this afternoon.

A man was arrested in the Victorian town of Shepparton, with police suspecting that the material sent to diplomatic missions came from his home.

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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.

He was apprehended last night at his home, with images obtained by 9News showing police in hazmat gear assessing the suspect's home.

Mr Avan did not apply for bail.

The Indian, New Zealand, South Korean, Swiss, Greek, French, Italian, Pakistani, Spanish and USA consulates in Melbourne and Canberra were among those targeted with suspicious packages on Wednesday.

There has been no evidence yet that the packages were risky, but police Thursday said forensic testing was continuing to determine their exact contents.

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

More than a dozen foreign offices received suspicious packages on Wednesday, including the US and British missions in Melbourne. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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

"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", a DFAT spokesman said.

DFAT said IT had sent an email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions yesterday, and then to other consulates across Australia.

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