Victorian man charged over suspect embassy packages


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

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 MAN has been arrested for allegedly sending suspicious packages to embassies and consulates throughout Australia.

Police recovered 29 of the packages, which were still being tested to determine their contents.

He was charged with sending unsafe articles to be carried by postal service and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if he is found guilty.

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 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.

In a statement the AFP and Victoria Police said they believed the substance was sourced from his home in Shepparton.

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Some packages were reported to be labelled asbestos.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not risky. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.

The Greek consulate general on St Kilda Road and the Pakistan consulate in Albert Park both received suspect packages but did not contact authorities straight away.

"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", vice consul Georgia Botsiou said.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the matter had been referred to the Australian Federal Police, as well as Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

DFAT told AAP it had sent an email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions on Tuesday.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.