Victorian man faces court over 'suspicious packages' found at Melbourne, Canberra consulates

Victorian man faces court over 'suspicious packages' found at Melbourne, Canberra consulates

Some packages were reported to be labelled asbestos.

Savas Avan was charged with sending risky articles through the postal service, Australian law enforcement officials said in a statement.

The man arrested is due to face a court in Melbourne on Thursday.

Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police said in a joint statement they will allege the substance in the packages was sourced from the man's Shepparton home.

A 48-year-old from northern Victoria has been arrested and charged over dozens of suspicious packages that were delivered to embassies and consulates throughout Australia.

Police did not release the suspect's name.

On Wednesday suspicious packages were received at embassies in Canberra as well as the US, Pakistani, Swiss, Indian, South Korean, New Zealand, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish consulates in Melbourne.

"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.

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India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States consulates were among a number across Melbourne and Canberra targeted with suspicious packages yesterday, sparking an emergency "hazardous material" response and some evacuations.

The incident comes just days after emergency services were called to the Argentinian consulate in Sydney's CBD after reports that a suspicious substance was found in a parcel.

They identified all the intended recipients and were working to recover the remaining packages, but said there was no ongoing risk to the public.

But at least two consulates in Melbourne did not contact authorities about packages until they received an email from the Australian government.

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

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs had raised the alarm with all diplomatic missions in Canberra on Tuesday after similar incidents were reported at offices in Sydney and the Australian Capital Territory.

The maximum penalty is 10 years' jail.

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