‘Suspicious packages’ found at Melbourne, Canberra consulates

Australia

Suspicious packages have sparked a major emergency response and evacuation of seven foreign consulates across Melbourne, with embassies in Canberra also hit.

Australian Federal Police remain at the various scenes, examining the packages.

Diplomatic offices in Melbourne for countries including Germany, Italy, India, Spain and Korea were among those attended by police, fire crews and ambulance officers on Wednesday afternoon.

AFP confirmed packages were also sent to embassies in Canberra, but it’s unknown which countries were targeted. 

Emergency service personal exiting the building where the Korean consulate is located in Melbourne.

Emergency service personal exiting the building where the Korean consulate is located in Melbourne.

AAP

The Indian and US consulates on St Kilda Road, along with the British, Swiss, German Korean, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian missions were targeted.

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

An AFP spokesperson said that as the matter is subject to further inquiries, they would not be providing further information.

Police outside the Italian consulate in Melbourne.

Police outside the Italian consulate in Melbourne.

Carlo Oreglia-SBS Italian

Police tape at the locked down Italian consulate.

Police tape at the locked down Italian consulate.

Carlo Oreglia-SBS Italian

There are no reports of anyone being injured and Victorian police told reporters the general public was not believed to be at risk.

A spokesperson called the incidents “targeted”.

Two fire trucks, a hazardous materials vehicle and police cars were called to the Consulate-General of India on St Kilda Road, where staff sat outside the building, telling reporters they had been told not to comment to reporters.

The building was deemed “safe” and employees were able to reenter the building by 3.00pm.

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

Hazmat and fire crews are seen outside the Indian and French Consulates on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

AAP

The Victorian Emergency website listed more than 10 “hazardous material” events occurring across Melbourne, which began unfolding from about 1.00pm.

Manuela Erb, the honorary consul of the Consulate of Switzerland in Melbourne, told the ABC that they had received a suspicious package at their Ashwood address.

“It’s believed to be non-hazardous, however, they’re treating it as a hazardous,” she said.

Emergency workers wearing chemical suits were seen entering some of the buildings.

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.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not dangerous.

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