Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Suspicious packages sent to Indian, British, German and Swiss embassies in Australia

Suspicious package sent to Indian consulate several others in Australia Indian consulate staff sit outside their office after a suspcious package was sent there
Ellis Copeland | 09 January, 2019, 11:09

SYDNEY: Pakistan's mission in Melbourne was among the those worldwide consulates and embassies in Australian cities that have been sent suspicious packages containing white powder, some reportedly marked with the word "asbestos", foreign media reported.

"Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages to embassies and consulates in ACT & VIC today", the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

"The circumstances surrounding the incidents are being investigated", the statement added.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road with evacuated workers on the street.

It is not yet known which embassies in Canberra have been affected.

There were no immediate reports of any harm to staff.

Photos from outside the Indian Consulate show evacuated staff, two fire trucks, hazardous material vehicles and police in attendance.

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A New Zealand official told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the consulate received an envelope with small plastic bags that appeared to contain concrete and asbestos, with "asbestos" written on one of the bags.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade confirmed shortly before 3pm that it was assisting Australian Federal Police at embassies across Melbourne.

More than a dozen hazardous material alerts have been issued on the VicEmergency website.

"We handled the package according to our standard procedures and in close coordination with local authorities. who are investigating the incident", a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate told Reuters.

The British High Commission in Australia confirmed that the consulate in Melbourne had received a package but said nobody was injured.

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.

Authorities did not confirm the specific locations or intended targets of any of the packages, but the Australian federal police confirmed it was investigating and would examine the packages.

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