Suspicious packages sent to numerous consulates and embassies


The Australian Federal Police were investigating a number of suspicious packages on Wednesday that had been sent to numerous consulates and embassies across the country.

Australian police are investigating the delivery of suspicious packages sent to foreign embassies and consulates in Melbourne and Canberra, police and embassy sources told AFP Wednesday.

"The packages are being examined by attending emergency services".

Public broadcaster ABC also reported that authorities had also found similar packages at the Melbourne consulates of the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Pakistan and New Zealand, and possibly also those of France, Greece, and Hong Kong.

Firefighters wearing Hazmat suits entered the South Korean and Indian consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne shortly after 2pm (local time).

There was also an alert of a hazardous material incident at Yertchuch Avenue in Ashwood, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, where the Swiss consulate is based.

Embassies in Canberra have also been hit, but it is not known which ones have been affected, according to AAP.

A spokesman for the USA consulate in Melbourne told CNN that after receiving a suspicious package staff "followed standard procedures and alerted local authorities".

It is understood at least seven Melbourne buildings have been evacuated.

Domestic media reported that more than a dozen foreign offices received the packages and some staff said they contained asbestos, a material used in building that can cause cancers and other health problems.

A British High Commission spokesperson said it had been one of facilities targeted, but "all our staff are safe and accounted for".

"The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated".

VicEmergency says they are responding to hazardous material reports at Bourke St, Market St, Middleton Lane, Albert Rd, Queens Rd and St Kilda Rd. She has been quarantined for treatment, the sources said. However, the substance, which was powder in clear plastic bags in an envelope, was subsequently deemed not risky.