Man charged over suspicious packages sent to embassies


The Australian Federal Police said: "The man was arrested at his home last night and was charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service, contrary to section 471 of the Criminal Code Act 1995".

A man has been arrested after almost 40 suspicious packages were discovered at foreign embassies and consulates across Australia.

Savas Avan, 49, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with sending risky items by post.

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

A man was arrested in the Victorian town of Shepparton, with police suspecting that the material sent to diplomatic missions came from his home.

His lawyer Sonia Sawant did not apply for bail during the short hearing and he was remanded in custody to face court again on March 4.

Savas Avan allegedly sent 38 packages to embassies and consulates in Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

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He was apprehended last night at his home, with images obtained by 9News showing police in hazmat gear assessing the suspect's home.

Emergency services were called to French, Greek, Indian, Italian, New Zealand, Pakistani, South Korean, Spanish, Swiss and USA consulates in Melbourne on January 9.

"Police have so far recovered 29 of these packages, with forensic testing to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them", a statement from Australian Federal Police said.

The maximum penalty is 10 years' jail. They said there was no "ongoing threat to the general public" from the remaining nine. Officials at the United States and Swiss missions in the city said they had also received packages.

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

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.

"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.