Australian police charge man over hazardous parcels sent to diplomatic offices

The Australian Federal Police said that 29 packages were being examined, and that the incidents were under investigation.

Police did not release the suspect's name.

Savas Avan appeared in a Melbourne court after being arrested at his home in rural Victoria state on Wednesday, the same day several consulates in Melbourne received the suspicious packages, authorities said.

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

DFAT said in a statement it had warned all diplomatic missions in Australia to be tired of opening mail on January 8, after learning that suspicious packages were sent to three embassies and consulates in Canberra and Sydney on January 7.

The court was told the packages contained asbestos.

He was charged with sending risky materials through the post.

Police say there is no ongoing threat to the public as they have identified all other recipients of the remaining parcels and have processes in place to seize them.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community", Victorian Police said on Wednesday. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere. Some packages were labeled with the word "asbestos".

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

"It didn't have a return address".

"Today (Wednesday) we received communication from the diplomatic body here in Victoria that there are suspicious packets circulating and that we should contact the police if we've received something and we have contacted the police", Ms Botsiou said, translated from Greek.

The packages were delivered Wednesday.

The first suspect packages were found at three consulates and embassies in Sydney and Canberra earlier in the week, leading the Department of Foreign Affairs to send notes to all diplomatic missions Tuesday "alerting them to the possibility of suspicious packages being delivered by mail".

Avan made no application for bail and was remanded to reappear at court on March 4.

Vanessa Coleman

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