Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Man charged over suspicious packages sent to embassies

Man charged over suspicious packages sent to embassies

An Australian man was charged Thursday with sending dozens of packages believed to contain asbestos to embassies and consulates around the country.

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

Federal and Victorian police allege Mr Avan ripped up the walls of his Shepparton home, packaging the broken pieces of asbestos before allegedly mailing them on January 7.

While forensics police searched his Shepparton home, Mr Avan faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday morning wearing red shorts and a blue Minions T-shirt from the Despicable Me movie series with the slogan "more than meets the eye".

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

Several foreign diplomatic missions were evacuated in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Canberra on Wednesday after they received packages containing suspicious substances.

Police did not release the suspect's name.

Police said they had recovered most of the packages.

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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.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages", the AFP said in a statement. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, police said.

"There is no ongoing threat to the general public", police said.

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.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.

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

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.

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