Man arrested for sending packages to Australian embassies and consulates

The packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scarring of the lungs.

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.

The Australian Federal Police has not yet confirmed if the two incidences are believed to be related.

The suspect to be produced in a Melbourne court later Thursday morning to face charges of sending unsafe materials through the post.

The man is expected to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning.

Australian police arrested a Shepparton man after he allegedly mailed 38 packages containing a unsafe substance to diplomatic missions throughout southeast Australia.

"Forensic police have spent a large part of today raiding his Shepparton home".

Police said they had recovered most of the packages.

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Mr Avan did not apply for bail.

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

The Indian, New Zealand, South Korean, Swiss, Greek, French, Italian, Pakistani, Spanish and U.S. consulates in Melbourne and Canberra were among those targeted with suspicious packages on Wednesday. Officials at the United States and Swiss missions in the city said they had also received packages.

Savas Avan appeared in a Melbourne court after being arrested at his home in rural Victoria state on Wednesday, the same day several consulates in Melbourne received the suspicious packages, authorities said. They said there was no "ongoing threat to the general public" from the remaining nine.

"Similar advice was subsequently provided to consulates around Australia".

The maximum penalty is 10 years' jail.

"After learning of incidents at three offices in Sydney and Canberra, DFAT sent a note to all diplomatic missions in Canberra on January 8 alerting them to the possibility of suspicious packages being delivered by mail", a spokesman said.

On Wednesday, emergency services raced to a string of diplomatic facilities in Melbourne which had received packages containing suspected hazardous material.

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