SYDNEY: Australian police 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, India and Pakistan missions in Melbourne.
The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with sending dangerous articles through a postal service, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.
Police said the packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scaring of the lungs.
Police, who have recovered 29 of the parcels, said they would intercept the rest. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.
Australian media on Wednesday said the parcels appeared to contain plastic bags of concrete and asbestos, with “asbestos” written on at least one of the bags.
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 dvised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government’s protocols and instructions,” a DFAT spokesman said.