Suspicious packages found at Indian consulate, other embassies in Melbourne

Leroy Wright
January 9, 2019

Australian Associated Press reported staff at the consulate general of India were evacuated from the building for about 40 minutesand ordered not to talk to media, while reporters outside the consulate general of the Republic of Korea reported seeing at least one person in a hazmat suit enter the building.

Police in Australia said on Wednesday they are investigating several suspicious packages sent to embassies and consulates, which media reports and other officials said included the USA and British missions, in the cities of Melbourne and Canberra.

A fire fighter is seen carrying a hazardous material bag into the Korean consulate in Melbourne.

Embassies in Canberra have also been targeted. "The circumstances are being investigated", Australian Federal Police tweeted.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police said: "Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies and consulates in Melbourne today".

"We are liaising closely with the (Australian Federal Police) and the local authorities regarding the situation".

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No one was injured in the attack but the windows of the office chamber of state BJP President Shibun Lyngdoh were damaged. Nearly all government establishments and educational institutions remained closed across the state.

At least 13 consulates in Melbourne have been affected, along with a number of unnamed embassies and consulates in the ACT, the AFP has confirmed. The Melbourne fire brigade and Australian Federal Police are now investigating.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that the New Zealand Consulate General in Melbourne received a suspicious package this afternoon.

Staff were later allowed to re-enter the building, which was deemed safe by Vic Emergency, the collective body of emergency agencies in Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital.

There are reports the packages contain white powder laced with asbestos, and that warnings were emailed to staffers at the consulates prior to the delivery telling them to "wear masks" when opening the packages.

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

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