Suspicious packages spark scares at British consulate and other embassies in Australia

July 13, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Police in Australia are investigating suspicious packages sent to at least ten embassies and consulates in Canberra and Melbourne, including those of Britain, the United States and New Zealand.  

The British High Commission in Australia confirmed that the consulate in Melbourne had received a package but said nobody was injured. The commission in Canberra was not affected.

“We are liaising closely with the [Australian Federal Police] and the local authorities regarding the situation,” a spokesperson said. “All our staff are safe and accounted for.”

Emergency services attended consulates across Melbourne’s central busy district and the inner city. Some reports said as many as 22 consulates had received packages, some of which apparently contained asbestos.

According to Channel Nine, the consulates of Britain, the United States, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Pakistan  and Greece were all believed to have been affected. It was not clear which embassies in Canberra were affected.

The scene outside the Croatian Embassy in Melbourne Credit:

No injuries have been reported.

The Australian Federal Police said it was investigating the source of the packages.

“Police and emergency services have responded to suspicious packages delivered to embassies and consulates in Canberra and Melbourne today,” a police statement said.

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“The packages are being examined by attending emergency services. The circumstances surrounding the incidents are being investigated.”

The incident follows the discovery two days ago of suspicious white powder at the Argentinian Consulate in Sydney. Authorities confirmed that the powder was not toxic.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Melbourne has sent units to reports of "hazardous material", according to the Vic Emergency website.

A spokeswoman for the service said: "We are assisting the Australian Federal Police right now with a number of incidents across Melbourne."

Pictures posted on social media show cordons outside the Indian and South Korean consulates, both on St Kilda Road in the south of the city.