Numerous diplomatic missions in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra received suspicious packages this week, with several consulates and embassies temporarily evacuated or put on lock-down on Wednesday.
"Police have so far recovered 29 of these packages, with forensic testing to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them", a statement from Australian Federal Police said.
An Australian man was charged Thursday with sending dozens of packages believed to contain asbestos to embassies and consulates around the country.
The suspect to be produced in a Melbourne court later Thursday morning to face charges of sending unsafe materials through the post.
The Australian Federal Police said: "The man was arrested at his home last night and was charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service, contrary to section 471 of the Criminal Code Act 1995". They said there was no "ongoing threat to the general public" from the remaining nine. The powder was deemed not risky by New South Wales police. They gave no additional details of how the asbestos was packaged or what the motive might have been.
The British, Greek, Indian, New Zealand, South Korean, Spanish, Taiwanese, and Turkish consulates in Melbourne were also evacuated.
"It didn't have a return address, written on the top was "samples" and because it didn't have a return address and without it having a note inside, we thought it was suspicious and because of that, we isolated it from the start", vice consul Georgia Botsiou said.
The Pakistani consulate was delivered a package at 10am on Wednesday morning but contacted authorities only when prompted by an email from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Age reported.
On Thursday, DFAT told 10 daily it had sent a precautionary email to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions on Tuesday.
It subsequently sent similar advice to missions elsewhere.
"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", a DFAT spokesperson said.