Aussie po­lice charge man for send­ing haz­ardous pack­ages

The New Paper - - NEWS -

SYD­NEY Aus­tralian po­lice yes­ter­day charged a 49-year-old man for send­ing as many as 38 pack­ages con­tain­ing a haz­ardous ma­te­rial to di­plo­matic em­bassies and con­sulates across the coun­try.

More than a dozen for­eign of­fices re­ceived sus­pi­cious pack­ages on Wednesday, in­clud­ing the US and Bri­tish mis­sions in Mel­bourne.

The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with send­ing dan­ger­ous ar­ti­cles through a postal ser­vice, which car­ries a max­i­mum penalty of 10 years in jail, the po­lice said in a state­ment.

Po­lice said the pack­ages con­tained as­bestos, once a pop­u­lar build­ing ma­te­rial that can cause can­cer.

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

Aus­tralian me­dia on Wednesday said the parcels ap­peared to con­tain plas­tic bags of con­crete and as­bestos.

The Age news­pa­per said one fire­fighter was seen out­side the South Korean con­sulate car­ry­ing a large plas­tic bag with the word “as­bestos” writ­ten on it.

Other mis­sions in Mel­bourne re­ported by me­dia to have re­ceived sus­pi­cious pack­ages in­cluded those of Den­mark, Egypt, Greece, In­dia, Italy, Ja­pan, Pak­istan, Spain, Switzer­land and Thai­land.

Avan will next ap­pear in court in March.

There was no on­go­ing threat to the gen­eral pub­lic, the AFP said.

Aus­tralia’s Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade (DFAT) said it had sent an e-mail to all di­plo­matic mis­sions in Can­berra this week, af­ter three of­fices in the cap­i­tal and Syd­ney re­ceived sus­pi­cious pack­ages.

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.


A court artist sketch of Savas Avan.

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