Suspicious packages delivered to diplomatic missions in Australia

Charlene Craig
January 9, 2019

"The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated", the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

Vic Emergency, a government response agency, reported several instances of hazardous materials being found across the city on Wednesday, including near the Spanish, Japanese, Egyptian, Indian and Pakistani consulates.

The Australian Federal Police say that police and emergency services are examining suspicious packages delivered to the foreign consulates.

Embassies in Canberra have also been targeted.

It said the packages were sent to consulates in Melbourne and embassies in Canberra, but did not provide a total number of affected sites or identify any of them.

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Two firetrucks, a hazardous materials vehicle and police cars were seen at India's consulate in Melbourne, where staff members had been evacuated, some wearing protective masks.

A spokesman for the US Mission Australia, on behalf of the US Consulate General in Melbourne, said: "We can confirm the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne received a suspicious package earlier today".

The Indian and United States consulates on St Kilda Road as well as the British, Swiss and German diplomatic mission are believed to have been targeted.

Images taken by 9News showed firefighters and paramedics attending the Indian and USA missions in Melbourne.

"We are liaising closely with the AFP and the local authorities regarding the situation", the spokeswoman said.

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Some reports said as many as 22 consulates had received packages, some of which apparently contained asbestos.

"The Australian Federal Police and Melbourne Fire Department are investigating".

Footage showed emergency services workers attended the US, Greek, French, Italian, Hong Kong, Indian, New Zealand, Pakistan and Swiss consulates.

A firefighter is seen carrying a hazardous material bag into the South Korean consulate in Melbourne.

The alerts come after Sydney's Argentinian consulate was partially evacuated on Monday after reports of a suspicious substance.

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"Staff were evacuated from the Consulate as a precautionary measure", a spokesperson said.

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