Man in Australia arrested over suspicious consulate packages

Man in Australia arrested over suspicious consulate packages
Hazmat and fire crews work outside the Indian and French Consulate in Melbourne, Australia Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. At least seven international consulates were evacuated in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday after reports that multiple suspicious packages had been sent to them. (Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image via AP)

SYDNEY (AP) — Australian police have arrested a man after 38 suspicious packages containing a possibly hazardous substance were sent to foreign consulates in the Australian cities of Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Police say a 48-year-old man was arrested at his home in Shepparton, Victoria state, on Wednesday night, and charged with sending dangerous articles to be carried by a postal service.

The arrest came after around 10 diplomatic missions, mostly in Melbourne, on Wednesday reported the delivery of suspicious packages, some of them labelled “asbestos.”

The missions included those from the United States, Britain, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Switzerland and Greece.

Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police said in a joint statement that the man would appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.