Australia charges man over suspicious foreign mission parcels

Clay Curtis
January 10, 2019

Police allege he sent 38 parcels with a substance from his home in Shepparton, Victoria, but said the exact composition of the substance is still being determined.

Taiwan's representative office in Melbourne, Australia, received a suspicious package on January 9, alongside 37 other packages sent to consulates and embassies across Australia.

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.

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The 48-year-old was arrested at his home in Shepparton, Victoria state, on Wednesday night, and charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service, police said.

He was charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service and has been remanded in custody following a Melbourne Magistrates' Court hearing today.

Police have recovered 29 packages so far, with forensic testing to be undertaken to determine the nature of the substance.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages".

7 News reporter Cassie Zervos told Nick McCallum the Australian Federal Police arrested Avan last night.

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This followed the discovery and removal on Monday of a suspicious package at the Argentinian Consulate in Sydney.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not risky.

It is understood the envelope, which looked like a normal letter, was addressed to the Consulate-General of Pakistan.

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

"It didn't have a return address, written on the top was "samples" and because it didn't have a return address and without it having a note inside, we thought it was suspicious and because of that, we isolated it from the start".

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

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.

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