17 April 2023

WA man arrested after Canberra embassies allegedly targeted by bomb threat phone calls

| Claire Fenwicke
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Accused man with AFP officers

The 57 year old has been accused of making the threatening calls from a Perth phone booth. Photo: AFP.

A West Australian man has been charged with three offences relating to the alleged threatening calls made to embassies in Canberra and a business in Adelaide.

The AFP has alleged the 57-year-old Wellard man made the calls from a public telephone in Perth’s southern suburbs last week (9-13 April).

Officers had identified the location of the phone, which had allegedly been used to make threatening calls to two embassies in Canberra. Subsequently, they were monitoring the area on Thursday, 13 April.

They were later notified a menacing call had been made to an Adelaide business at around the same time they had allegedly seen a man spend almost 30 minutes at the phone booth.

Police tracked the man from the vehicle he had been driving and arrested him at his Wellard home that evening.

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He was charged with using a carriage service for a hoax threat and two counts of threatening to commit damage by means of explosive to an official premises of an international protected person.

The maximum penalty for the offences is 10 and seven years imprisonment, respectively.

AFP Acting Inspector Peter Gelme said the AFP was committed to protecting all members of the public.

“No one should be harassed or threatened at work and this arrest should send a strong message that the AFP is working tirelessly to identify and prosecute anyone who breaks the law by abusing others,” he said.

“These types of calls also waste valuable resources to investigate the veracity of the threats made.”

The AFP is working with SA Police to investigate more than 30 other threatening calls made recently to South Australian businesses.

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