Man held over suspicious packages to Pak, other embassies in Australia

A firefighter carries a hazardous material bag into a consulate in Melbourne on Wednesday after suspicious packages were sent to foreign missions around the city

"He has since been charged with posting 38 packages of what is believed to have been asbestos to consulates across Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra", Cassie said.

Several foreign diplomatic missions were evacuated in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Canberra on Wednesday after they received packages containing suspicious substances. The Victoria state police said on January 9 that they believe the incidents are targeted, and that the general public is not at great risk.

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

Some consulate workers reported seeing packages labeled "asbestos".

The man is charged with sending risky articles via the postal service, reported The Australian.

India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States consulates were among a number across Melbourne and Canberra targeted.

The maximum penalty is 10 years' jail.

Police, who have recovered 29 of the parcels, said they would intercept the rest.

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"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.

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

DFAT said three similar incidents recently occurred in Sydney and Canberra, and the ABC understands that the Argentinian consulate in Sydney was also sent three bags containing asbestos and fibreglass on Monday.

The consulate was temporarily evacuated, but NSW Police confirmed on Tuesday the substance was not unsafe.

DFAT said IT had sent an email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions yesterday, and then to other consulates across Australia.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the British High Commission it was "liaising closely with the Australian Federal Police and the local authorities regarding the situation".

The Pakistani consulate was delivered a package at 10am on Wednesday but only contacted authorities when prompted by an email from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"They were very quick on to it, they provided advice to the relevant consular residences and in practical terms we learnt very quickly, that evening, that the substance was inert", he said.

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